Local government units (LGUs) in the Visayas and Mindanao have the discretion to impose enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Wednesday.
Nograles, also acting as the spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management for the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), said LGUs in Visayas and Mindanao can place their respective areas under ECQ, “if they deem it necessary.”
His statement came following the extension of ECQ in the entire Luzon until April 30.
“We wish to reiterate that the ECQ covers the regions of Luzon; for areas outside Luzon, such as regions in Mindanao and the Visayas, local government units have the discretion to implement ECQs if they deem it necessary,” Nograles said in a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4.
Several areas in Visayas and Mindanao have already been placed under ECQ to arrest the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country.
Nograles said local governments that have plans of imposing an ECQ in their respective areas should coordinate with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“Obviously, kailangan nating bigyan din ng leeway ang ating mga LGUs (we need to give LGUs the leeway) to enforce a community quarantine within their area para hindi rin po sila magka-infection ng Covid-19 (so the people there will not be infected with Covid-19),” he said.
The number of Covid-19 cases in the Philippines jumped to 3,764, as of Tuesday.
Around 177 Covid-19 patients died, while 84 others recovered from the infectious disease.
Nograles said the majority of Luzon residents heeded the national government’s directive to observe strict home quarantine.
He cited the findings of Google’s global study which showed that Luzon did “very well” since the entire island was placed under ECQ.
“So meaning to say, if you look at that study, it means almost everybody cooperated with the stay at home,” Nograles said.
Nograles said the government is focused on improving the country’s Covid-19 testing capacity and isolating infected people and other potential carriers during the implementation of ECQ in Luzon.
He, however, could not tell whether the Luzon-wide ECQ would be lifted after April 30.
Nograles said the extension of the ECQ means that for the next few weeks, “we will be dependent on our front-liners and relying on them for our health, security, and safety”.
“If we are successful (in improving the testing capacity and isolating Covid-19 patients and potential carriers), then that will help us make a decision (before) April 30,” he added. (PNA)