MANILA – The national government is hoping for a 25-percent reduction in Covid-19 cases nationwide as a result of the two-week general community quarantine (GCQ) bubble placed over Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna until April 4, Malacañang said on Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the government is hoping that additional restrictions in Metro Manila and the four nearby provinces would prevent the further spread of the virus.
“Ang target natin (Our target is a) minimum 25 percent reduction but we’re hoping for more kaya nga po dinadaan na rin natin sa pakiusap bagamat hindi po kayo pinagbabawalan na lumabas sa loob ng NCR plus bubble sana po kung hindi naman kinakailangan lumabas e manatili nalang po sa ating mga tahanan kasi ang nais natin e mas malaki pa sa 25 percent po ang mabawas sa mga kaso (that’s why we appeal to the public that even if we do not prohibit you from going outside the NCR+ bubble, we hope you stay home because we hope to reduce cases by more than 25 percent) ,” Roque said in a virtual press briefing.
Roque described the 25 percent reduction in Covid-19 cases nationwide as a “realistic goal” made by the government for the next two weeks.
He also expressed hope that Filipinos will consider the upcoming Holy Week as an opportunity to stay home.
“We’re hoping dahil Holy Week nga po at wala na pong lalabas ngayon ng Metro Manila e lahat nalang po ay manatili sa kanilang mga tahanan (that because it’s Holy Week the public will stay home),” he said.
Roque said the government hopes that the two-week GCQ bubble would also help lower the increasing intensive care utilization rate in Metro Manila.
“Part of the formula na pag umabot na sa danger level e talagang (Part of the formula that if it reaches the danger level) drastic actions would have to be taken. But unlike before, we have added [intensive care unit] beds, we have added [temporary treatment and monitoring facilities]…dahil mas marami na tayong facilities ngayon, mas matagal na mapupuno yung ating mga hospitals at ating mga TTMFs (because we have more facilities now, it would take longer before hospitals and TTMFs are full),” he said.
Citing data from health authorities, Roque said the intensive care utilization rate in Metro Manila is nearing 70 percent.
Nationwide, 53 percent of 1,900 intensive care beds are still available; 39 percent of 13,500 isolation beds are unoccupied; and 38 percent of 6,000 ward beds are still available.
The country has seen more than 7,000 daily infections in recent days as new coronavirus variants have been detected.
Roque attributed the spike in Covid-19 cases to new variants, low masking compliance, super spreader events, gatherings, reduced surveillance, reduced contact tracing, and delayed testing.
On Monday, health authorities logged record-high 8,019 news cases, increasing the country’s total Covid-19 infections to 671,792.
The country also logged 104 new recoveries and four deaths, bringing the total recoveries and death toll to 577,850 and 12,792, respectively.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday approved additional restrictions in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal by placing them in a GCQ bubble to address a surge in Covid-19 cases in the country.
Only essential travel in and out of the five areas under the GCQ bubble will be allowed.
Travel of authorized persons outside their residences (APORs) such as essential workers, health and emergency frontline services personnel; government officials and government frontline personnel; duly-authorized humanitarian assistance actors; persons traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons; persons going to the airport for travel abroad, returning overseas Filipinos and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will be unimpeded for as long as they show their respective work identification cards.
Individuals crossing zones for work or business and going back home will also be allowed to travel to and from the said areas. (PNA)