The Department of Health yesterday admitted the two-week hard lockdown starting Aug. 6 will not stop the spread of Delta strain—even seeing active cases in Metro Manila alone jumping to 30,000—but said heightened restrictions would help the health system prepare for the surge.
“In our scenarios, we see an increase in the number of active cases from at least 18,000 to 30,000 plus cases assuming that we are already in ECQ [Enhanced Community Quarantine],” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
“The lockdowns will help us prepare the health system but it is not going to control the spread,” she added.
As of July 30, the number of active cases in Metro Manila stood at 12,108.
The country logged 8,147 new cases Saturday, the second straight day that fresh COVID infections breached the 8,000-mark. This brought the total number of cases to 1,588,965, with 60,887 active cases and 167 new fatalities.
Border controls in NCR-Plus
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the Philippine National Police will put up border controls in the NCR-Plus region (Metro Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna and Rizal) at 12 a.m. Sunday to ensure that only authorized persons can cross borders.
The quarantine border controls will restrict travel a week before the capital goes under ECQ, the strictest lockdown level, for a third time since the pandemic was declared in March last year.
Año said the PNP will only recognize pandemic task force IDs upon entry and exit in borders. Cargo vehicles will be allowed to travel, especially those carrying essential goods such as food.
“The implementation of strict border controls in the NCR Plus areas is critical to stopping the spread of the Delta variant,” Año said.
The Metro Manila Council will leave it up to the local government units whether or not to require quarantine passes, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Benhur Abalos said.
4 million life-saving jabs for NCR
Local governments in Metro Manila, home to 13 million residents, will be given at least 4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses once ECQ takes effect, National Task Force against COVID-19 deputy chief implementer Sec. Vince Dizon said.
“We will also give 2.5 million doses to the provinces covered by NCR Plus,” Dizon said.
NCR Mayors have committed to continue with their target of 250,000 vaccinations a day during the two-week ECQ, Abalos said.
1m families to get ayuda
Meanwhile, more than one million families in Iloilo City, Cagayan de Oro City, and Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental that were placed under ECQ will receive case assistance of up to P4,000.
The financial assistance shall be released by the Department of Social Welfare and Development to the cities and municipalities under ECQ to provide emergency relief assistance to affected families.
Each of the beneficiary families shall receive P1,000 for each member, with a maximum amount of P4,000 per family.
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