Lawmaker bats for two-week extension of ECQ after April 30

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 18) - Albay second district Rep. Joey Salceda suggested on Saturday another two-week quarantine extension to promote more mass testing efforts in further preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

“The risk of resurgence of infection remains significant. The national interest really remains on the prudent side on retaining the ECQ for at least two weeks in May,” Salceda told CNN Philippines.

Salceda predicted that by April 30, which is the end of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, the country will only have 130,000 people tested for COVID-19.

“That’s too small for a country of 110 million,” he added.

The House Ways and Means Committee chairperson mentioned that if the ECQ does not get extended another two weeks, all the government’s efforts will be wasted and will have an impact in the economy.

“It will cost the economy three times as much than if we continue at least the forceful measures for another two weeks,” Salceda explained.

Salceda noted the elderly and people below 20 years old must be prioritized during the ECQ, because they are vulnerable in catching the disease that has affected 6,078 individuals and claimed 397 lives in the country.

The Albay lawmaker also pointed out the Filipinos must now learn to adopt the new normal in taking care of personal health, such as frequent hand washing, access to clean water, and wearing of face masks.

“These are the low cost options really, [as opposed] to lifting the ECQ,” said Salceda.

Salceda also appealed for more supply of personal protective equipment and ventilators in hospitals in the country to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Before we open up, we must have the means to confront the risk. At this point, I think we don’t have the medical capacity to do that,” he said.

Salceda is also one of the proponents in the House of Representatives for the country to have an economic stimulus program to aid the country’s economy affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

He also called for the initial two-week extension of the ECQ, which was originally set to expire April 13.