Gov’t to consider WHO warning about lifting of Covid-19 lockdown

April 12, 2020

THE Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) will give weight to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) warning that early lifting of lockdown could lead to a “deadly resurgence” of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson, said WHO’s warning would be taken into consideration when the task force decides on the fate of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) which will lapse on April 30.

“Siguro narinig niyo na rin yung sinabi ng WHO, yung warning nila na countries will have to be careful na hindi ka basta-basta pwedeng mag-lift (Perhaps, you have heard WHO’s warning that countries will have to be careful about lifting measures against COVID-19),” Nograles said in a virtual press conference aired on state-run PTV-4.

“Iyan po ang masinsinang pag-uusapan namin sa IATF (The IATF will carefully discuss about) what happens after April 30,” he added.

On Friday, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus advised countries with Covid-19 infections not to be in a hurry in easing restrictions on people’s movement to address Covid-19.

Tedros warned that the premature lifting of measures imposed to fight Covid-19 would be “dangerous,” as it could spark a “deadly resurgence” of the new pathogen.

The government, Nograles said, is focused on containing Covid-19 while the entire Luzon is under ECQ.

Nograles added that the government would implement “strict and stringent” set of rules to avoid resurgence of Covid-19 in the Philippines.

“Ngayon po, asahan natin na within the next two weeks, mas ma-control pa natin ang sitwasyon, mas ma-identify pa natin ang mga parameter, mas makikita pa natin ang datos (Expect that within the next two weeks, we’ll be able to control the situation more, identify the parameters, and see clearer data),” he said.

No ECQ extension in Luzon

The imposition of ECQ in entire Luzon was supposed to end on April 12, but it was extended until April 30 in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Nograles said the IATF-EID has no plan yet to extend the ECQ in Luzon.

He made the statement following claims that there will be another extension of ECQ in Luzon.

Nograles merely dismissed the rumor as “fake news.”

“Kung may nagpapakalat man nito, hindi po namin pinagu-usapan ‘yung extension ng lockdown after April 30. Hindi po iyan totoo na nakapag-desisyon na rin ang IATF na i-extend natin o kung anu-ano man diyan (There’s no truth to the alleged extension of lockdown after April 30. It’s not true that the IATF has already decided to extend the ECQ),” he said.

The IATF-EID earlier approved five parameters for deciding on the total or partial lifting, or the possible extension of ECQ in Luzon.

The adopted parameters include the trends in Covid-10 epidemiological curve, the capacity of the health care system, and the social, economic and security factors.

Public cooperation

To arrest the spread Covid-19 pandemic, Nograles appealed to the public anew to cooperate with the government.

Nograles also asked for the public’s patience amid the government’s relentless efforts to impose measures against the new coronavirus.

“Kailangan taasan pa natin ang ating pasensya. Kailangan na mag-cooperate tayo sa ating pamahalaan (Let’s have more patience. We have to cooperate with the government),” he said.

Nograles reminded everyone to strictly observe social distancing, practice proper hygiene, wear face masks, and conduct disinfection in an effort to stop the further transmission of Covid-19.

The Philippines now has confirmed 4,428 COVID-19 cases, with 247 fatalities and 157 recoveries. PNA