The OCTA Research group wants to extend the general community quarantine status of Metro Manila in July amid the threat of the highly transmissible Delta and Delta Plus COVID-19 variants across the world.
Speaking to CNN Philippines’ New Day on Monday, OCTA Research fellow Guido David said he prefers extending GCQ in the capital region while increasing the capacity of businesses for economic recovery.
“For the NCR, we could add capacity to businesses. We could open some other businesses, but I agree with the position of the DOH (Department of Health) that we should maintain GCQ in the NCR because although the trend is decreasing, the virus is still present,” David said.
San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora also recommended that the current GCQ status be maintained, noting that the public must not keep their guards down.
“Given that there is indeed a real threat [brought by] the Delta variant and there’s still cases, although low, but sustained, I would rather keep the GCQ status,” Zamora said. “Right now, we are seeing that businesses are operating, the economy is functioning while cases remain stable so I would rather have the GCQ.”
David said that while the national government continues to monitor the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) which first emerged in India and its Delta Plus mutation (B.1.617.2.1) which has already been reported in other countries, the Philippines must continue to protect its borders.
There has been no community transmission of the Delta variant in the Philippines so far but 17 cases were already recorded, all from returning Filipino travelers.
David said Metro Manila is already under a moderate-low risk area, back to its pre-COVID-10 surge level. He warned, however, that loosening border restrictions may cause a surge that is worse than what the capital region experienced a few months ago.
Zamora said speeding up their vaccination program is a way to further control COVID-19 transmission in their city. He added that so far, the local government has inoculated 63,960 residents or 75% of their 85,400 target population.
Metro Manila and Bulacan are currently under GCQ “with some restrictions” until June 30, while Rizal, Laguna and Cavite are under GCQ “with heightened restrictions” for the remainder of the month.
The national government advises the public to complete their COVID-19 doses, continue wearing face masks, face shields, and follow physical distancing rules to protect themselves from the virus.
/ITC — AdChoiceTV News (Manila)