Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) has saved a lot of people from the deadly coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Año made this remark as the Department of Health (DOH) on April 30, 2020, reported 276 new cases of Covid-19, bringing total infections nationwide to 8,488 with 568 deaths and 1,043 recoveries.
He said the country’s confirmed Covid-19 cases continue to increase because the government has improved its testing capacity which is now at 6,300 tests per day.
“Kapag dumating na tayo sa capacity na umaabot na tayo ng 30,000 a day, mas lalo nang hindi na natin kailangan ng lockdown sapagkat (Once our testing capacity reaches 30,000 tests a day, the more we don’t need a lockdown because) we can beat the virus faster instead of waiting for symptoms,” Año said in a virtual press briefing.
He said the ECQ being imposed throughout Luzon and in some areas of Visayas and Mindanao since March 16 has helped slow down the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
“In the process, we are able to flatten the curve, kasi nga napigilan na natin yung mga movement ng mga tao (because we have prevented the people’s movement),” he said.
He said the government decided to extend the ECQ in select areas including Metro Manila up to May 15 to further stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Ginawa natin ito kasi gusto nating ma-increase iyong ating mass testing capacity at saka healthcare capacities para kung magkaroon ng second wave, kaya natin i-address. (We did this ECQ extension to increase our testing capacity as well as healthcare capacities so that if the second wave of the pandemic will occur, we can address it),” he said. “So, this lockdown really helped us a lot and saves lots of lives.”
He urged the public to adopt a new normal by practicing home quarantine and social distancing.
“Kung hindi kinakailangan ay huwag kang lalabas ng bahay, yung lang naman talaga ang key (Do not go out of your home if it’s not needed, that’s the only key),” he said.
Aside from Metro Manila, the ECQ was extended in Central Luzon, except Aurora; Calabarzon; Pangasinan; Benguet; Iloilo province; Iloilo City; Bacolod City; Cebu province; Cebu City; and Davao City until May 15.
Other areas that are not under ECQ will be placed under less stringent general community quarantine. (Lade Jean Kabagani, PNA)