The government is discouraging home-based quarantine for those who test positive for COVID-19 and will push for swift and longer localized lockdowns in communities that have been hit, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Sunday.
READ: Localized lockdowns pushed
Nograles, co-chairman of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), said the government will shift its focus to state-run quarantine facilities to ensure that disease transmission is controlled.
“We are now discouraging… home quarantine. It should be a facility-based quarantine,” he said in an interview over radio dzBB.
Nograles said the risk was greater that persons in the same household would contract the disease even if the person who tested positive self-isolates at home.
READ: Localized lockdown eyed
Even asymptomatic persons who test positive will be quarantined in state-run facilities, he said.
Nograles also said the government will push for a more swift and aggressive implementation of localized lockdowns nationwide.
In a recent meeting with mayors via Zoom, he emphasized the need to impose lockdowns for at least 14 days, not just two to five days.
“A lockdown should be at least 14 days,” he said.
The incubation period for COVID-19 is on average five to six days, however, it can go up to 14 days, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
As the world continues to grapple with COVID-19, Nograles also reiterated the importance of observing minimum health and safety standards such as physical distancing, wearing of face masks, and frequent hand washing.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is also enhancing its contact tracing efforts by hiring more contact tracers.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año encouraged those suspect that they've been in contact with a possible COVID-19 patient to come forward and subject themselves to testing.
As of Saturday, the Philippines had 54,222 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 14,037 recoveries and 1,372 deaths.
Nograles said shifting Metro Manila to the least restrictive modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) would be possible on July 16 as long as localized lockdowns are imposed immediately.
He said a shift to MGCQ will be one of the two options that will be proposed by the IATF to President Rodrigo Duterte.
The second option, he said, is to retain the general community quarantine (GCQ) in the National Capital Region (NCR).
READ: NCR lockdown eyed anew
Should the President decide to place Metro Manila under MGCQ, Nograles said he will expect local chief executives to quickly implement localized lockdowns in a affected barangays for at least 14 days.
He said members of the IATF-EID will be meeting on Monday (July 13) to discuss possible changes to the current quarantine classifications.
On June 30, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said he wanted NCR and Calabarzon to shift to MGCQ to revive the economy since the two regions make up 67 percent of the country's economy.
Dominguez also pushed for localized lockdowns where only barangays with a jump in the number of COVID-19 cases will be closed instead of an entire region or city.
He said a company-based lockdown could also be considered.
Metro Manila, Benguet, Cavite, Rizal, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Ormoc, Leyte, Southern Leyte, and Cebu’s Talisay City, Minglanilla, and Consolacion are under GCQ until July 15. The rest of the country is under MGCQ while only Cebu City remains under the most restrictive enhanced community quarantine.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Dobol B sa News TV, Metro Manila Development Authority general manager Jojo Garcia said mayors will intensify enforcement of COVID-19 health protocols and impose stiffer penalties on those who would violate them.
Also on Sunday, Senator Richard J. Gordon called on the government to come up with a comprehensive plan on how to quell or at least control the spread of the virus, which he said could be present for another four years, even if a vaccine is available.
But even if the pandemic stretches out for years, the country should have a plan and policies to combat it, Gordon said.
READ: DOH to shift reporting of virus casesREAD: DND chief sees 80% chance of MM easing quarantine
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