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DOH favors localized lockdowns

THE Department of Health has recommended localized lockdowns in areas where increased attack rate of COVID-19 has been observed instead of tighter quarantine protocols.

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said a report from the DOH’s sub-technical working group on data analytics, was responding to the findings of the OCTA research team which called on the government to consider tightening of quarantine protocols in Bauan in Batangas, Calbayog in Western Samar, and General Trias in Cavite since COVID-19 attack rates have increased there in the past week.

From Oct. 4-11, the daily attack rate per 1,000 people in Bauan rose from 6.2% to 11.9%, in Calbayog from 5.1% to 8%, and in General Trias from 4.9% to 7.6%.

“The risk classification currently puts a premium on the safe opening of business establishments for socio-economic recovery. Hospital capacity or utilization rate is used as the main signal for escalation of community quarantine levels. Based on our October 12 data, these provinces still have enough hospital capacity to care for its patients, therefore escalation of their quarantine levels is not warranted,” Duque said.

“Instead, the respective LGUs of these provinces are recommended to implement localized lockdowns, immediate contact tracing and isolation of all contacts, and strict compliance to minimum health standards in areas with increasing case incidence,” he added.

The health chief also assured the public that it will coordinate with the National Task Force and its regional counterparts to assist the LGUs on this matter.

The same OCTA findings revealed that the COVID-19 hotspots for the last two weeks include: Metro Manila, Cavite, Rizal, Batangas, Laguna, Bulacan, Negros Occidental, and Iloilo.

The Philippines has recorded 344,713 COVID-19 cases so far. Of this number, 293,383 recovered while 6,372 died. The number of active cases is 44,958.