Malacañang on Sunday said declaring a general community quarantine (GCQ) in May from the current modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) is still premature.
The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases, it said, has yet to assess the current figures on the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic in the country.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, in a radio interview, said the IATF is expected to meet before the end of the month to discuss the quarantine classification to be recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte.
“It is too early to say if we can return to GCQ. You know our process of assessment in the IATF, it is usually being done last week of the month so that our basis will be the latest numbers in preparing our recommendation for the month of May,” Nograles said.
The MECQ in the NCR Bubble Plus is in effect from 12 to 30 April after a two-week implementation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) amid the alarming increase in the Covid cases.
“That being said, right now the government is trying to increase the bed capacities, especially for ICU (intensive care unit), which we aim to establish for both public and private hospitals,” Nograles added.
Of no help
Earlier, the OCTA Research Group said the implementation of MECQ from ECQ is not helping bring down the steady increase in Covid cases, particularly in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal which comprise the NCR plus bubble.
Nograles said additional temporary treatment and monitoring facilities are now being built to address the full capacity of hospitals both from the public and private.
“We are increasing the ward beds, hospital beds in all government and private hospitals to help our healthcare system now being overwhelmed by Covid patients,” Nograles added.
Based on the figures from the Department of Health (DoH) in Metro Manila, 85 percent of intensive care unit beds, 62 percent of isolation beds, 72 percent of ward beds, and 64 percent of ventilators were no longer available.
At the national level, 67 percent of ICU beds were utilized and 50 percent of isolation beds were occupied, based on the health department’s data. Fifty-seven percent of ward beds and 48 percent of ventilators were no longer available.
Having an occupancy rate of 60 to 70 percent is at moderate risk while having an occupancy rate of 85 percent or more is at a critical level.