Gov't eyes 15 to 20-day Luzon lockdown extension

MANILA, Philippines – The government is now studying the possibility of Luzon lockdown extension for at least 15 days to sustain its gains in containing the contagious coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Gov't eyes 15 to 20-day Luzon lockdown extension

“It’s quite difficult to rush to normalcy and the problem comes back. What we are considering is to impose this in one go, perhaps extend it for another 15 or maybe 20 more days so we can sustain its positive impact,” head of the national task force (NTF) Carlito Galvez Jr. said in DZBB interview.

With just few days left before the expiration of enhanced community quarantine imposed in Luzon, Galvez who is also the presidential peace adviser, added that termination of the quarantine period may halt government’s goal of “flattening the curve" or reducing the number of cases.

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The possibility of longer lockdown is being discussed by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on emerging infectious diseases with President Rodrigo Duterte. The Luzon lockdown raised March 17 is set to end on April 12.

“It will be premature if we make the announcement at this time. We cannot preempt the decision of the President,” Galvez said.

Recently, a Filipino scientist is proposing for 2-3 months lockdown extension in line with flattening the curve.

“Based on the current data that is being generated from the Philippines, we have not yet flattened the curve...the estimate would be around 2 to 3 months before we could really flatten the curve, ” Dr. Darwin Bandoy Assistant Professor of the University of California, Davis, said in an interview with ANC.

The PhD candidate of Integrative Pathobiology at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California added that extension of the lockdown would lessen the number of infections.

“If we remove the enhanced community quarantine on April 13 and will resume to normal activity at April 14, the epidemic curve would rise again. So, based on these predictive models, I wouldn't recommend removing it so it should be extended..."

The scientist also cited some conditions before the government consider removing the lockdown.

"It should be extended until we meet the following conditions: we have the necessary healthcare capacity in terms of hospital beds, ventilators and if we can enforce social distancing on transportation, we can probably slowly introduce back to normal life."

As of April 4, the total confirmed cases in the Philippines rose to 3,094 with 76 new cases, death toll of 144 and a total of 57 recoveries.

— The Summit Express

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