News Release

Low COVID reproduction rate in NCR means ECQ/MECQ effective – Palace

The National Capital Region’s COVID-19 reproduction rate or R naught continues to go down and is at 0.9151 as of April 21, according to the COVID-19 monitoring tool FASSSTER.

“Dahil nga po dun sa napakalaking ibinaba ng R naught, masasabi naman natin na parang gumana yung ating dalawang linggong ECQ at yung dalawang linggo ng ating MECQ,” said Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr in a press briefing on April 26, 2021.

The Palace official and concurrent spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) said that the lowered R naught is indicative, not only of the effectiveness of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), but also of the effectiveness of the enforcement of the Prevent, Detect, Integrate, Treat, and Reintegrate or PDITR strategy in communities.

“Napababa po natin sa less than one ang ating R naught, pero ang kinakailangan natin masigurado ay hindi po masasayang yung gains ng ECQ at MECQ at makakamit naman po ito kung mabibigay ang tamang sagot doon sa mga tanong pagdating sa PDITR sa lebel po ng mga lokal na pamahalaan lalong lalo na dito sa NCR plus,” said Secretary Roque.

The said questions about PDITR were the indicators that Dr. John Wong of Epimetrcis, who was a resource person in the said press briefing, identified as the factors that have to be considered to assess readiness to go down to the more relaxed General Community Quarantine (GCQ) classification.

For localities, Dr. Wong said that local government units (LGUs) should be able to provide answers to how well people are complying to wearing of masks and social distancing, how fast do they identify people with symptoms and on how fast they test, isolate, and quarantine them, and what percent of cases and close contacts compete isolation and quarantine periods.

While for indoor businesses with crowds, Dr. Wong said they should be able to give information on how well they are observing the two out of three rules on ventilation, masking, and social distancing. And lastly, Dr. Wong said that data on how fast vaccination pace can be increased to 350,000 jabs per day will also be useful to make a complete assessment of our readiness for GCQ.

Aside from the lowered COVID-19 reproduction rate and effective PDITR implementation, improved healthcare utilization rates will also matter in deciding quarantine classifications, said Sec. Roque.

“Patuloy ang pag-uusap namin ni Sec. [Francisco] Duque dahil noong ako’y naka-confine sa PGH talagang nangako ako na maging advocacy ko na makakatulong ako sa proseso ng pagdagdag ng mga ICU beds … patuloy po ang pag-uusap namin ni Sec. Duque para magkaroon ng iba’t ibang pamamaraan para madagdagan pa ng 200 ICU beds dito po sa Metro Manila,” Roque said.

Part of the national government’s initiative to improve healthcare capacity, particularly to increase bed capacity to accommodate COVID-19 patients, is the construction of additional facilities. One of these facilities is the Eva Macapagal Super Terminal Isolation Facility, which will formally open today at the South Harbor in the City of Manila.

“Una itong ginawang quarantine facility noong nakaraang taon para ma-accommodate ang ating repatriated seafarers at OFWs na kinakailangang sumailalim sa required 14-day quarantine. Ngayon, na-convert ang Eva Macapagal Super Terminal Isolation Facility, na mayroong 250 na mga kama, upang mag-accommodate ng mga asymptomatic at mild COVID-19 patients para matulungang ma-expand and kapasidad ng ating healthcare facilities,” said Roque.

The Cabinet official added that another isolation facility was opened on Friday, April 23, at the Camp Olivas in San Fernando City, Pampanga. The said facility that is located inside the compound of the regional headquarters of the Philippine National Police Region 3 has 32 bed capacity.

On the matter of vaccines arrival, the Palace spokesperson said that according to the National Task Force Against COVID-19, 15,000 doses of the Gamaleya or Sputnik V vaccine is expected to arrive on Wednesday, April 28. Meanwhile, another batch of 500,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine that the Philippine government procured from China, will arrive on Thursday, April 29. ### OPS-PCOO