President Rodrigo Duterte said in a press briefing last night that he was “likely” to extend the Luzon enhanced community quarantine for two more weeks until April 30.
In this morning’s Laging Handa press briefing, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles of the Inter-Agency Task Force made it official: “Enhanced community quarantine is hereby extended until April 30, 11:59 p.m.” He said that they had confirmed this with the chief executive last night.
The ECQ was supposed to end on April 13. In the press briefing, Nograles explained the IATF decision to extend this deadline. “Di pa natin nakikita ang peak,” he said. “Pag ni-lift mo ang ECQ, sisipa pataas ‘yan. Kasi gagalaw lahat. At kung gumalaw, kakalat [ang COVID-19 virus].”
He outlined several steps that the government needed to take to “flatten the curve”: the capacity to conduct 8,000 to 10,000 tests per day with a 24-hour turnaround time, the immediate isolation of PUIs, the construction of strategic testing centers, as well as the capacity to do contact tracing.
And if all of these things are in place by April 30?
He said that the ECQ will likely be relaxed, but Filipino citizens should be ready for a new normal. “Pag in place po lahat ‘to ng April 30, kailangan, andiyan pa rin ang social distancing. Ito yung sinasabi natin na magta-transition tayo sa 'new normal.' And the new normal, ladies and gentlemen, is social, physical distancing.”
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*This story originally appeared on Spin.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.