Lawmaker calls for 30-day extension of Luzon-wide quarantine

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 1) — A congressman from Metro Manila has proposed another 30-day extension of the enhanced community quarantine, noting that "science" and "common sense" would prove that the Philippines is still grappling with the COVID-19 crisis.

"Science, the experience of other countries and common sense would dictate that the Philippine government should extend the enhanced community quarantine for another 30 days as we continue to grapple with hard facts on the real statistics of COVID-19 spread in our communities," said Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice.

Erice, a senior vice chair of the House committee on Metro Manila Development, noted that the "gains" of the ongoing 30-day Luzon-wide quarantine will only be put to waste if there will be no extension.

"The ECQ would most likely result [in] the resurgence of the dreaded virus and more likely would affect the blighted areas of urban centers," the congressman said in a statement.

He also stressed the need for government to use all resources so that food supply goes to the low-income households affected by the crisis.

Inter-Agency Task Force spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Thursday described the situation as "far from over."

"Totoo po iyon. Hanggang wala pang vaccine, then ito nga ang sinasabi nating 'new normal' (That is true. As long as there's no vaccine, then this is what we call the 'new normal')," Nograles said.

He earlier said that the task force has not yet made a decision whether the Luzon-wide lockdown will be lifted, extended, or expanded to other areas.

It has been 16 days since President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Luzon under the enhanced community quarantine. It has also been a week since he signed into law the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act which gives him additional powers to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Both chambers of Congress have yet to convene for a joint congressional oversight committee to review the first weekly report submitted by Duterte last Monday.

The Philippines currently has 2,084 COVID-19 cases to date, with 88 fatalities, and 49 recoveries.