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Filipinos lose hope after Harry Roque said Metro Manila is just a ‘living experiment’

Metro Manila will be a “living experiment” in the country’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Malacañang said Wednesday, days before new community quarantine protocols take effect.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque didn’t give any definitive answers on questions whether stricter quarantine measures would be implemented on Metro Manila following the surge of COVID-19 cases in the capital region.

“Metro Manila will be a living experiment and it’s an experiment that we believe we can be successful at, and it will be something that we can be proud of,” Roque said in an interview with CNN Philippines when asked if Metro Manila will shift back to a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

“Dalawa kasi iyong criteria ‘no, the case doubling rate and our case doubling rate is fine – we’re now at 8.9 (days). We actually improved because the higher the case doubling rate is, the longer is the better,” Roque said.

“It’s critical care capacity that’s the problem because ICU beds, we have reached mga around 80 percent. But there are steps that can be done – rationalization of hospital beds, including ICU beds is a solution and if we have to, we will build more ICU beds really, for as long as the case doubling rate is under control,” he said.

Roque noted that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases had a meeting on Tuesday about recommendations for new quarantine rules that are expected to be in effect on August 1, but President Duterte will have the final say on whether an easing or extending of quarantine measures in Metro Manila, and several provinces will happen.

Further, Roque said that Duterte will announce the quarantine classifications on Thursday.

Netizens felt the need to grill the government for lacking answers to such an important matter and for the ‘experiment’ comment from the presidential spokesperson.

Metro Manila is still under a general community quarantine (GCQ).

Duterte initially took note of UP experts’ recommendation of transitioning Metro Manila to an MECQ from July 16 to July 31 in the midst of surging cases.

But changed his mind after COVID-19 response Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr. and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año “passionately” argued that Metro Manila remain under a GCQ and have mayors improve on implementing quarantine protocols.

The Philippines has 85,486 confirmed cases as of this writing, and 1,962 deaths from COVID-19.

Written by JO-EST B. TAN

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