The World Health Organization said it preferred localized lockdowns instead of a reversal to enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Speaking at a televised briefing on Tuesday World Health Organization Representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe said they “do not believe the situation in the Metro requires a reversal.”
“We recognize the impact of this outbreak not only on health but also on the economy. Within the IATF (Inter Agency Task Force) recommendations there is a provision for localized lockdowns. And where we are seeing an upsurge in cases within the NCR (National Capital Region) and some localized cities or barangays, there is a need to use those provisions to suppress further transmissions,” he said.
Abeyansinghe also mentioned that people coming out from the lockdowns became lax when it comes to hygiene, adding this as well as physical distancing still needs to be observed.
However, he said the Philippines has been doing well compared to the many of the countries worst affected by the virus, adding the lockdown enforced by the government prevented a higher number of infections.
“What we are seeing now is with the gradual relaxation of the lockdown, we are seeing increasing numbers of cases. But we have to be careful here because the Philippine government has used the lockdown to expand its capacity for testing of cases and for expanding capacity in hospitals and quarantine centers to manage patients,” he said.
The country’s efforts have paid off he said, because we are seeing increased numbers being reported because of increased capacity
“This is not actually a bad thing because you are detecting the transmission that is out there,” he said.
Abeyasinghe’s comment comes as President Rodrigo Duterte is set to announce the fate of quarantine restrictions on the country.
The community quarantine over the country — which placed Cebu City under enhanced community quarantine, Metro Manila under general community quarantine, and all other parts of the country under modified GCQ — is set to end on June 30.