Gov't to decide on PH quarantine level every 15 days

July 28 ------ The country’s quarantine classification will be reviewed and decided upon every two weeks to immediately respond to the threat of the Delta coronavirus variant in the country, Malacañang said Tuesday. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque announced the latest change in the community quarantine schedule to address any rise in the cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) previously recommends the risk classification of a city and province every month. The recommendation on whether to escalate or downgrade the community quarantine of a certain area is then submitted to the President for final decision. “Sinabihan na po ng IATF ang Presidente na ang ating classification will now be every 15 days, kasi we need to be able to move quickly kapag talagang sumipa po ang kaso ng Delta variants. Kasi ganiyan po iyong anyo ng Delta variant, bigla na lang sumisipa,” Roque said during a televised press briefing Tuesday, July 27.

“So, kung dati po ay nasasanay tayo na monthly ang ating quarantine classification, ngayon po ginagawa nating at least every two weeks, pero every week po mino-monitor po natin,” he said. The government recently placed Iloilo province and three other areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the most restrictive of the four levels of lockdown implemented by the government to curb the coronavirus outbreak, until the end of July. Metro Manila and other areas have been put under general community quarantine with heightened restrictions. The risk classification level of a city or province is reviewed based on factors such as average daily attack rate, two-week growth rate, and critical health care utilization rate.

Despite the Delta threat, Roque said there was no recommendation yet to impose a “hard lockdown.” But the Palace official said the government “will not hesitate to impose stricter lockdowns” if needed. “At the same though we realized na what we are seeking or aiming for is the total health of the population, controlling the spread of the new Delta variant, at the same time preventing po iyong pagkagutom ng ating mga kababayan (the hunger among our people),” he said. On Wednesday, July 28, President Duterte is expected to meet with the IATF members and deliver his “Talk to the People.”