Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will extend the enhanced community quarantine of Luzon area until April 30, 2020. This is to minimize the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Visayas and Mindanao to be monitored if needed for an extension as well.
Extended Quarantine in Luzon
The Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) was supposed to last until April 13 only. However, due to the continuous increase of coronavirus cases, it has been extended. The extension is necessary in order for the government to determine the impact of the ECQ and further increase health capacity in Luzon and other areas, including ramping up COVID-19 testing to 8,000 to 10,000 tests per day with a turnaround time of 24 hours. The Philippines has, so far, recorded 3,660 COVID-19 cases with 163 deaths and 73 recoveries.
According to the Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, the President accepted the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to extend the Luzon-wide quarantine until 11:59 p.m. of April 30.
Provided, that all exemptions granted by the Office of the President or the IATF shall continue to be in effect for the duration of the extended ECQ,” said Nograles, citing the resolution passed by the IATF on Monday.
Provided further that such extension of the ECQ shall be without prejudice to the discretion of the President to relax the implementation of the ECQ in some local jurisdictions, or the granting of exemptions in favor of certain sectors, as public health considerations and food security may warrant.”
Some senators, however, said food supply and movement of essential goods and services must be ensured and that there should be mass testing for the disease to allow early detection and treatment of cases.
The government has initially allotted P100 billion as social amelioration aid for 18 million low-income families and has increased subsidy for beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program amid the COVID-19 pandemic.