Govt studying possible shift to granular lockdowns

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 28)— The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is studying a proposal to restrategize the implementation of COVID-19 lockdowns — from wider community quarantine restrictions to a more localized approach.

In the government's Laging Handa briefing on Saturday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said officials are eyeing a shift to granular lockdowns, where local government units can strengthen their case detection measures.

"We saw na itong wider community quarantine restrictions, mukhang hindi na masyadong effective para sa atin kaya we would like to shift into these granular lockdowns where our local governments will be doing active case finding," Vergeire said. "Ito po ang nakikita natin that can stop transmission."

[Translation: We saw that these wider community quarantine restrictions do not seem to be very effective anymore, that's why we would like to shift into these granular lockdowns where our local governments will be doing active case finding. We see this is a way to stop transmission.]

Vergeire, however, stressed that the policy is still under study by the IATF and its panel of experts.

"Pinag-aaralan po nating mabuti 'yan, para kapag tayo ay nag-restrategize, wala naman pong masyadong maging epekto doon po sa ating ginagawang response," she added.

[Translation: We're studying this very carefully, so that when we restrategize, there won't be a lot of changes in our current response.]

Earlier in the day, the IATF announced Metro Manila will remain under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until Sept. 7. Spokesperson Harry Roque said the National Capital Region — along with Bataan and Laguna — will have additional restrictions on dining, personal care services, and religious activities.

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Meanwhile, Philippine National Police chief PGen Guillermo Eleazar said he has ordered officers to coordinate with the respective LGUs to prepare for the possible imposition of granular lockdowns.

"Ito ay isang proposal pa lamang, subalit mas maigi nang paghandaan ito nang maaga upang hindi na magdulot ng kalituhan na maaaring mauwi sa hindi pagkakaunawaan kung sakaling maaprubahan ito," Eleazar said.

[Translation: This is just a proposal, but it's better to prepare early in order to avoid confusion in case this is approved.]