Experts propose ‘hard GCQ’ or ‘soft MECQ’ to contain COVID-19 surge

MANILA, Philippines – UP OCTA Research Team has proposed the implementation of “hard general community quarantine” (hard GCQ) or a “soft modified enhanced community quarantine” (MECQ) in order to contain the current surge of COVID-19 infections in the country.

According to professor Ranjit Rye of the UP OCTA Research Team, following minimum health public standards will not be enough to contain the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

Experts propose ‘hard GCQ’ or ‘soft MECQ’
Photo Credit: ANSA/Vatican News

Some features of the hard GCQ include measures such as discouraging social gatherings; prohibition of indoor dining in restaurants and promoting take-out dining; issuance of quarantine passes for the workforce; and keep mass transportation operating.

Rye believes that the current GCQ needs to be restricted since people have a liberal view of social gatherings. If hard GCQ would not give good results after two weeks, Rye suggests the shift to soft MECQ.

Meanwhile, features of the soft MECQ include banning of all social gatherings; operation of malls and groceries on limited capacity; and mass transportation to continue running.

Rye explained that the recommendation dubbed as the circuit breaker proposal aims to reduce the reproduction rate of the infection that will positively impact hospitalization and deaths.

He said: “The purpose of our circuit breaker proposal or you can call it a ‘hard GCQ’, ‘soft ECQ’ or whatever name the government decides to use moving forward, it has to have the impact of reducing the [reproduction rate]. Because if we reduce the [reproduction rate], which is now at 1.9, to something like 1 in the next two to four weeks, it’s going to eventually lower infections. It will have a definite impact on hospitalization and deaths.”

On Friday, March 19, the Department of Health (DOH) tallied 7,103 new COVID-19 infections, the highest number of cases reported in a day since the pandemic hit the country. The previous highest figure was logged on August 10, 2020 at 6,958.

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