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MMC: IATF TO DECIDE ON NCR QUARANTINE STATUS

The Metro Manila Council (MMC) will defer to the decision of the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) on the next community quarantine status to be implemented in the National Capital Region.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos said the decision of the Metro Manila mayors who are at the battleground is very critical as they seek to find balance of health and economic concerns.

The MMC is the policy-making body of the MMDA.

“The LGUs are at the forefront and they know what is really happening on the ground but we have to weigh both economic and health factors in our decision. We deem it best to leave the decision to the wisdom and judgement of the IATF,” Abalos, a lawyer, said.

“Stricter implementation of health protocols and comprehensive testing and contact tracing will also be continuously imposed.”

The traffic chief assured that whatever community quarantine status will be implemented after Aug. 20, the LGUs will continue ramping up their Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate (PDITR) measures to further curb and mitigate the spread of the virus, especially this time when the highly transmissible Delta variant have become more aggressive.

“Whatever the decision of the IATF will be, the mayors committed to continue doubling up their vaccination efforts. Stricter implementation of health protocols and comprehensive testing and contact tracing will also be continuously imposed,” the traffic head said.

He explained that the recent enhanced community quarantine is different from the past ECQs as the government has already started its vaccination program, prioritizing A1 (healthcare workers), A2 (senior citizens), and A3 (persons with co-morbidities) groups.

Vaccination rollout has also started for those who belong to A4 (economic frontliners), and A5 (indigent population) categories.

“Critical COVID-19 cases are lesser despite the rise in the number of active cases as majority of Metro Manila residents already received their jabs.”

As of August 16, the total doses given is 10,716,042 for the entire Metro Manila, out of which 909,969 (90%) senior citizens were administered with the first jab and 774,066 (77%) with complete doses.

Meanwhile, more than 1.7 million (46%) individuals with co-morbidities in Metro Manila received their first vaccine shot while around 1.3 million (35%) already completed their jabs.

“Critical COVID-19 cases are lesser despite the rise in the number of active cases as  majority of Metro Manila residents already received their jabs,” Abalos said.

“Sustaining the record-high 240,000 administered jabs last Aug. 12 in Metro Manila, which we did during this most recent ECQ, would lower risk classification of healthcare utilization rate in Metro Manila,” he added.

During the ECQ, Abalos inspected several vaccination hubs in several cities in Metro Manila and lauded the LGUs for their orderly and systematic vaccination process.

“We see more people outside during this ECQ because of the vaccination, which we intend to finish immediately for NCR to achieve population protection, and subsequently herd immunity, the soonest possible time,” he stressed.

Metro Manila was placed under the strictest quarantine classification since August 6 due to the threat of COVID-19 Delta variant. ECQ will lapse on Friday, August 20.

The MMC, composed of the 17 Metro Manila mayors, is the governing and policy-making body of the MMDA.

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