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Metro Manila should shift to GCQ with localized lockdowns — medical expert

A medical expert on Monday said he prefers for Metro Manila to shift to a General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with “localized lockdowns,” citing declining cases in the country.

A member of the police manning a checkpoint asks to see the quarantine pass of a resident in Navotas in suburban Manila on July 16, 2020.

“I personally prefer a GCQ with localized, or surgical, or what other countries call a smart lockdown,” Dr. Ted Herbosa, a special adviser to the National Task Force against COVID-19, told DZMM Teleradyo.

“We peaked at 6,000 – 7,000 cases a day, and for the past several days that I’ve been monitoring, it has been averaging at 4,000, 3,000. I think we’ve reached the peak as predicted by the UP (University of the Philippines) team, and it’s probably decelerating,” he added.

In localized lockdowns, only certain houses, or buildings, or subdivisions will be confined, and not the whole city or whole district as it will be “very bad for the economy,” according to Herbosa.

“We knew very little [then]…and many countries also were second guessing on how to handle this virus. Today, we know that this very strict city-wide or region-wide lockdown is very damaging to the economy,” he said.

Herbosa said the localized lockdowns can now work since the country now has a “wide range of testing centers.”

‘Localized strategies’

He said the strategy of the local government in containing the spread of COVID-19 has “kind of shifted” from national level to localized level.

He said strategies like contact tracing “should be happening at the community level.”

“This way, I think the smart lockdown, with the contact tracing and testing will probably work in containing the spread of the virus,” he said.

“If you have very good local implementation, I think we can really contain the transmission of this disease,” he added.

Herbosa also said the government wants to balance health and economics in the second phase of its national action plan for COVID-19.

“The government’s job is to make sure that the economy should not be so affected with what you have to do with the public health side, so it’s a big balance, it’s a difficult balancing act that we do,” he said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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