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Cabinet to discuss nationwide MGCQ 

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The proposal of the government’s pandemic response managers to place the entire Philippines under the least restrictive modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status will be tackled in the Cabinet meeting set Monday night, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to decide on the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF) IATF-EID recommendation to place the entire country under MGCQ but will make his decision based on experts’ data analytics.

“Siguro po kasama sa agenda talaga iyong MGCQ ‘no at kasama rin po sa agenda iyong aking pagri-report-an na mga hakbang para mapaigting pa iyong vaccine confidence (Perhaps part of the agenda will be MGCQ and also included in the agenda will be steps taken to boost vaccine confidence),” he said in a Palace press briefing.


Roque said he could not second guess Duterte’s decision, insisting it is better to wait for it to be brought up during the Cabinet meeting.

Should Duterte prefer to wait for the government’s vaccination drive to kick-off before further easing quarantine classifications, he said the IATF will respect the President’s decision.

“Kung sasabihin naman ni Presidente nandiyan na naman ang bakuna, hayaan na muna natin magbakuna -- wala namang problema iyan ‘no because recommendatory lang po ang IATF at ang katotohanan siyempre po, mas mabuti talagang nandiyan ang bakuna (If the President will say the vaccine is coming, let’s wait for people to get vaccinated -- there won’t be a problem because the IATF is only recommendatory and the truth is, it’s better if we have the vaccine),” he said.

Roque did not give a clear answer when asked to react to the results of a research conducted by OCTA, which showed that Metro Manila has once again recorded an upward trend in Covid-19 cases, but assured that there are sufficient health system capacities to treat Covid-19 cases.

“Ang inaprubahan ng inyong IATF ay magbukas ng MGCQ dahil unang-una sapat po iyong ating mga kama para gamutin ang mga magkakasakit. Pangalawa, matutuloy na po ang ating pagbabakuna (The IATF approved further easing to MGCQ because first, there are enough beds to treat the sick. Second, vaccination is going to push through),” he said.

He also pointed out that Filipinos have been observing quarantine protocols.

“Nakita natin na nagpapatupad ang mga Pilipino ng mask, hugas, iwas, kaya po nagkaroon ng rekomendasyon na buksan na natin iyong 95 percent ng ating ekonomiya dahil napakadami po talagang nagugutom na (We can see that Filipinos are observing wearing of face mask, washing of hands, physical distancing that’s why there is a recommendation to open 95 percent of our economy because many Filipinos are going hungry),” he said.

Meanwhile, Roque disagreed with the claims that there would not be much difference should the country transition from the current general community quarantine (GCQ) status to MGCQ.

“Ang malaking diperensiya po diyan ay dalawang bagay: Public gatherings -- hanggang sampu lang po ang GCQ, 50 percent capacity po ang public gathering sa MGCQ; at ang transportation from 50 percent to 75 percent (The big difference is two things: Public gatherings -- only 10 percent of the venue capacity is allowed in GCQ, 50 percent capacity for public gatherings in MGCQ; and transportation from 50 percent to 75 percent),” he said.

In its latest monitoring report, OCTA on Sunday said the daily average new cases in Metro Manila over the past three days have climbed to 563, up by 45 percent from the daily average of 388 recorded from the previous week.

A huge contributor to this reported increase was Pasay City, which saw a 203 percent spike in cases in the last three days.

OCTA said from the 28-daily average recorded from Feb. 11 to 17, the city recorded an average of 86 cases daily from Feb. 18 to 20.

Following this surge, the Pasay City government has locked down 33 barangays and one business establishment.

As of Monday, the country’s Covid-19 cases reached 563,456 after 2,288 more people contracted Covid-19.

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