The Department of Health (DOH) is still unsure whether the extension of the enhanced community quarantine period in the ‘NCR Plus,’ consisting of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, will be enough to curb the continuous surge in new cases of COVID-19. 

In an interview with GMA’s Unang Balita today (April 5), DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire shared that conditions will be assessed on a weekly basis and that decisions will be made according to the current situation. 

“Linggu-linggo natin i-assess ang sitwasyon para makita natin kung ano ang next natin na classification base sa sitwasyon,” Vergeire explained. 

According to Vergeire, the number of new infections in the country has been rising, especially in Metro Manila, which saw daily cases jump to at least 7,000. 

“We can see that the average number of cases per day has been increasing for these past weeks,” she said. 

Vergeire attributed the spike in positive cases to two factors, primarily the quicker transmission of the COVID-19 virus and the country’s low testing capability. 

Due to the confluence of these factors, hospital accommodation rates, specifically in intensive care units (ICUs), have plummeted significantly. 

To address the issue, Vergeire said the department is looking into separating asymptomatic cases from those showing severe signs of infection.

In line with this, she states they’re cooperating with local government units (LGUs) to identify whether a patient needs to be admitted to a hospital, isolated at home, or be brought to a quarantine facility.

“Sa pamamaraang ito hindi natin mapupuno ang ating mga ospital,” Vergeire said.

The reinstituted ECQ status in the ‘NCR Plus,’ which started on March 29, was supposed to end last week on April 4. However, the Philippine Government extended the bubble until April 11. 

In an announcement on Saturday (April 3), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo has approved of the one-week extension as recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

You can watch a clip of the interview below.

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