QUEZON CITY, Aug. 3 (PIA) -- President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on late Sunday night, August 2, has placed the National Capital Region (NCR) and the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) effective midnight August 4, 2020, heeding medical frontliners call on Saturday for a 'time out' .
"I have heard the call of different groups from the medical community for a two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Mega Manila. I fully understand why you, health workers, would like to ask for such a timeout. They have been in the frontlines for months and they are exhausted," he said.
On August 2, at least 80 medical associations representing thousands of doctors signed a letter asking the government to revert Manila to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) "to recalibrate the government's Covid-19 strategies", as they admitted that country's health care system is "overwhelmed."
While the President did not go for the ECQ as requested, he, however approved the recommendations of the Cabinet for the hiring of additional healthcare workers to augment the current workforce, including the hiring of 10,000 medical professionals and the calling to active duty and enlistment to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
He also approved the provision of additional benefits, such as risk allowance for private sector healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients with the amount of P10,00 for every healthcare worker that gets sick, life insurance, free accommodation, free transportation, free and frequent testing.
He also approved the Cabinet's recommendation to issue work and quarantine passes to minimize movement.
The local government units (LGUs) and the COVID-19 CODE Teams were also directed to intensify the localized lockdown strategy and the implementation of 'Oplan Kalinga'.
The guidelines for minimum health standards will also be strictly enforced and intensified while giving twenty million face masks for the poor.
The use of RT-PCR testing as gold standard has likewise been approved by PRRD.
Finally, President appealed to the health workers to be patient and do not lose hope as he assures them of his trust in their abilities.
"'Wag kayo mawalan ng pag-asa, nakikita at kausap ko ang iba sa inyo (Don't lose hope, I can see you and I speak to some of you) Stretch your patience and your fervor. Tiwala kami sa inyong kakayahan (we trust your abilities)," he added.
On Sunday, August 2, DOH reported the total number of COVID-19 cases at 103,185.
A total of 5,032 confirmed cases were reported based on the total tests done by 70 out of 94 current operational labs. DOH likewise announces 301 recoveries. This brings the total number of recoveries to 65,557. (PIA-DDCU)