MANILA – The national government will maximize the upcoming two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila and other high-risk areas to beef up its response to the Covid-19 pandemic amid the presence of more infectious Delta variant, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Wednesday.
Nograles described the two-week ECQ from Aug. 6 to 20 as a “necessary step” to protect the country’s healthcare system and at the same time help the economy recover.
“We’ve prepared for this and we knew that ECQ was one of the weapons that we could use in our arsenal. But together with the ECQ, what we wanna accomplish is ECQ, mass testing, genome sequencing, massive vaccination, make sure that we continue to ramp up our hospital bad capacities, talk to the private hospitals, increase the capacities of public hospitals as well,” he said during a livestream of a Go Negosyo town hall.
He said restrictions of only essential establishments, industries, activities, and the implementation of a skeleton workforce would allow the government to “take control of a potential bigger problem.”
As more Covid-19 vaccine supplies continue to arrive in the country, he said the government will escalate its distribution and administration of vaccine doses to priority groups.
He said the government is also preparing for the distribution of billions worth of cash aid that will be distributed to poor residents in areas under ECQ.
Earlier, Malacañang said a total of PHP13.1 billion worth of cash assistance will be distributed to around 10.7 million Metro Manila residents.
“Gaya ng panalangin ng lahat, ‘yun din yung taimtim naming nais manyari: Na sana huli na itong ECQ natin at magtuloy-tuloy na (We want everyone’s prayer to come true: That this would be the last ECQ and that it will stay that way),” he said.
Nograles, meanwhile, encouraged Filipinos to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and continue observing minimum public health standards such as wearing of face masks and face shields, and observe physical distancing.
He also discouraged the public from going outdoors for now, except when needed to buy food, medicine, and other essential needs.
“Everybody has to do their part na kung puwedeng huwag lumabas ng bahay, huwag lumabas ng bahay. Yun yung dapat default mindset nating lahat (that if we can avoid going outside, don’t go outside. That should be everyone’s mindset),” he said.
Recent data from the Department of Health (DOH) said the total number of Covid-19 cases in the Philippines has breached 1.6 million.
To date, there are a total of 216 cases of the Delta Covid-19 variant in the country.
The Delta Variant, which is three times more contagious than the original virus, can jump from one person to another in a matter of minutes. (PNA)