DOH disagrees with health group, says ECQ has not been wasted

NCR under lockdown

CHECKPOINT In this photo taken on March 22, policemen guard the boundary of Cavite and Metro Manila as the national capital and its nearby provinces are placed under lockdown due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. INQUIRER file photo / MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) disagrees with the assessment of the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC) that the two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the NCR Plus has been put to waste.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the government has implemented measures for the last two weeks, including expanding bed capacity for COVID-19 patients.


“I cannot say really, hindi ko masasang-ayunan ang HPAAC dito na sinasabi nilang [I cannot agree with HPAAC that the ECQ] it has gone to waste. Because we have implemented measures naman na naandyan [that are there]. We have mobilized our local governments, we have expanded our bed capacity,” she told an online press briefing.

On Sunday, HPAAC stressed that “mobility restriction is but a short-term intervention, and yet it seems to have been wasted again.” The group issued the statement before Malacañang announced that the NCR Plus will be placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from April 12 to 30.

HPAAC lamented that “the government still has no clear plans and efforts to fix the root causes, and the nation continues to suffer because of this.”

“This ECQ may have slowed down the spread, but the numbers are still perilously high,” the group remarked.

However, Vergeire said that we cannot say yet that the ECQ has gone to waste because its effects on COVID-19 numbers will only be seen 10 to 14 days after it lapsed.

She noted that the “exponential” transmission of the virus would have spiked even more without quarantine measures being imposed by the government.

“But because of what we are doing, we are trying to prevent this kind of increase to happen,” said Vergeire.

Nevertheless, Vergeire said the DOH recognizes the recommendations being floated by HPAAC to improve the country’s COVID-19 response.

“We recognize ‘yung kanilang mga (their) recommendation. For this recommendation naman, ang ating (our) government aligns with them, and they align with us,” she said.


“Nagtutulungtulong naman lahat. Ito lang, ang sinasabi na it has gone to waste, hindi naman po. We are currently doing kung ano ang dapat gawin para maibsan natin itong sitwasyon,” she added.

(Everyone is cooperating. But we disagree with this statement that the ECQ has gone to waste. We are currently doing what needs to be done to ease up our situation.)

The Philippines currently has 146,519 active cases, including 11,681 new infections reported on Sunday. Since the pandemic began, the country has already recorded a total of 864,868 COVID-19 cases, including over 703,404 patients who have recovered, and 14,945 who have died.


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For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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