After one year of different lockdown variations, the Philippines’ cases escalated to 7,000 to 8,000 confirmed cases a day. Yes, the government has been doing its best to curb and contain the virus. We are not discounting their efforts. In fact, it surely improved from last year.
But let’s face the facts, we’re in a more dire situation today than before. Numbers don’t lie. With the government weighing the health and economic consequences, what are they planning to do?
Hard GCQ or Soft MECQ: UP Octa Research Team Recommendation
According to Octa Research Professor Ranjit Rye, the cases today are “record-breaking in terms of its infectiousness and the speed of its increase.”
The reproduction number (R) is currently at 1.9. It means that one COVID19 patient can infect 1.9 people. To decrease the fast transmission, the R should be below 1.
The UP Octa Research Team advised the government for a Hard GCQ or Soft MECQ for the following weeks. (If you don’t know about the different variations, better check this article first to compare between GCQ, MECQ, and ECQ.)
What Does This Even Mean?
To avoid confusion, think of this quarantine as somewhere in between GCQ and MECQ. Hard GCQ just means a stricter GCQ. And Soft MECQ is a less stringent MECQ. The following are the additional rules for both variants.
- Operation of government offices and industries will continue but with a significant percentage of the workforce allowed to work in various arrangements such as work-from-home and/or staggered work hours during the quarantine period.
- Social gatherings will be discouraged during the duration of the quarantine.
- Certain activities in enclosed areas shall be discouraged, such as indoor dining.
- Quarantine passes for the workforce only.
- Mass transportation should be available for all workers during the quarantine.
The restrictions will escalate to Soft MECQ if the R is still higher than 1 after two weeks.
- Operation of government offices and industries, including MSMEs, will continue.
- For the government and industries, a significant percentage of the workforce will be allowed to work in various arrangements such as work-from-home and/or staggered work hours during the quarantine period.
- Malls and groceries, and other essential businesses will continue to operate but at limited capacity.
- All social gatherings are prohibited during the quarantine period.
- Mass transportation will continue for workers.
Lockdown on NCR+
But the above are just suggestions by the experts. Currently, President Duterte signed a GCQ among the NCR+ areas. Stricter lockdown checkpoints will be implemented on the borders barring any unnecessary travel.
NCR+ comprises areas in Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Metro Manila from March 22 to April 4. And there will be a curfew between 10 PM to 5 AM. Also, people under 18 and above 65 aren’t allowed to go out of their houses except for work or buying essential items.
Indoor dining is also not allowed, while outdoor dining can be permitted with restrictions to 50% capacity. And public gatherings are allowed for a maximum of 10 people only.
Even with this, public transportations remains at 100% capacity.
Will this be an effective solution for the rising cases? Only time can tell. What we can do is strengthen our family’s immune system and follow proper safety protocols.
- Wear n95 masks or double masks and face shields
- Wash your Hands and Sanitize
- Social Distancing
With that, let’s all pray for everyone’s safety.