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MANILA, Oct 12 (Mabuhay) — The Palace said Monday the government may likely ease quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila due to the lower number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after Dr. Guido David of the OCTA Research Group said Metro Manila is winning the battle against the more infectious Delta variant with the reproduction rate in the region back in July to August level of 0.63.

“Data dictate if we should ease quarantine classifications. The good news is, when it comes to ICU (Intensive Care Unit) bed capacity [for COVID-19 patients], for the first time in many, many months, Metro Manila is in moderate risk, and that is also a factor to consider in lowering quarantine classification,” Roque said.

“We are still looking at the two week growth rate of COVID-19 cases and daily number of COVID-19 cases. As of October 10, it is at -13% and -46%, respectively. So I would say that the data support a reduction of the alert level but that’s ultimately the decision of the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force),” Roque added.

Roque, however, argued that granular lockdowns implemented in Metro Manila amid being under Alert Level 4 which limits dining out at 10 to 30% operating capacity is still in pilot stage and thus, needs more time to reflect efficiency or otherwise. This protocol will be in effect in Metro Manila until November 15.

“This is an experiment so we need to study it comprehensively. Let us just wait it out. But without second guessing the IATF, I agree with Secretary [Joey] Concepcion. The data indicate that we are ready for a lower alert level,” he added.

Concepcion is the presidential adviser on entrepreneurship.

As of Monday, around 23 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

This figure, however, is way behind the government target of vaccinating 80% to 90% of the Philippines’ 109 million population before the May 9, 2022 polls.  (MNS)

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