CALOOCAN CITY, May 25 (PIA) -- Presidential spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque on Monday said President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's decision to extend or lift the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) or shift into a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) over Metro Manila after its May 31 expiration will again be based on science.
Speaking before the Laging Handa public briefing hosted by the Presidential Communications and allied state media, Roque said few days before the scheduled expiration of MECQ, Roque said the decision to whether lift the lockdown and transition to "MGCQ" across high-risk areas will be based on scientific data and the country's capacity to provide care for those who will get sick.
"Siyensya ang magiging basehan natin. Antayin natin ang magiging desisyon ng IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force]," he said.
"Antayin na lang po natin ang magiging desisyon ng IATF... IATF ang magdedesisyon. Ang Pesidente kinokonsulta ang lahat, ang DOH at iba pang mga dalubhasa at mga doktor," he added.
The official explained that the imposition of lockdowns would be based primarily on whether medical and health authorities can provide critical care to those who might get sick, then the next thing to consider is in terms of the economy.
"Paulit-ulit ko pong sinasabi na yung doubling rate ng COVID-19 kung patuloy na bumagal at yung ating kapasidad to provide critical care at syempre 'yung concern sa ekonomiya," he said.
To recall, President Duterte earlier relaxed the stringent ECQ into a more economic-friendly MECQ version after basing it on trending scientific data.
Roque said the current trend is showing the country still has the capacity to take in more critical patients, which is why some areas have already been placed under the GCQ. He, however, cautioned that the public still have to be careful.
So far, the number of COVID-19 cases have reached 14,035 with an additional 258 cases confirmed yesterday. Of the number, around 72 cases have been added to those who got well, that brought the total to 3,249 recoveries, while fatalities have reached 868. Of the tally of positive cases nationwide, 75% were from Metro Manila while 5% came from repatriated overseas Filipino workers. While there are currently around 9,981 active cases in the country.
Meanwhile, Roque also reported on the Philippines' increased testing capacities for COVID-19.
"Naabot na natin ang ating target na 30,000 PCR tests per day...Noong Mayo 20, nakaabot na tayo sa 32,100 tests per day," he said the accomplishment is a few days earlier than the May 31 target.
"Meron na tayong 66 COVID laboratories sa bansa," he added. (PIA NCR)