Citing virus ‘downtrend,’ Lorenzana says Metro Manila ready for GCQ

Rambo Talabong
Citing virus ‘downtrend,’ Lorenzana says Metro Manila ready for GCQ

HALTED. Traffic slowly builds up as police officers check on vehicles and motorists crossing the Manila-Caloocan border checkpoint as Metro Manila reverts to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) on August 4, 2020.

Photo by Czar Dancel/Rappler

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana claims the Philippines’ coronavirus infection is going down. Is it, really?

Metro Manila may be placed under general community quarantine once more as the spread of COVID-19 is supposedly already going down. The numbers show, however, that it is not as simple as that.

“Yes, I think the trend is going down. Yesterday there were only around 3,000 cases – down from 6,000 previously,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in an interview with ANC on Monday, August 10.

Also the chairperson of the country’s national task force against the coronavirus, Lorenzana said Metro Manila’s economy cannot continue to suffer, and that the government has already determined which areas where there are high records of infection.

Is the trend really going down?

In making his assessment, Lorenzana was comparing the record 6,352 cases recorded on August 4 with the most recent rise of 3,109 cases on Sunday, August 9.

Cases recorded after the August 4 spike have been hovering between 3,000 and 4,000 cases since then. (READ: IN CHARTS: COVID-19 cases in the Philippines)

It is worth noting, however, that recording of cases may fluctuate. For one, a day before the record 6,352 cases on August 4, the Department of Health recorded 3,226 new cases – just a little over the number of new cases on Sunday, which Lorenzana cited in the supposed decline.

In addition, new coronavirus cases in the Philippines’ daily tally have not gone below 3,000 since July 30.

Why does this matter?

The national government has been struggling to find a balance between straining or loosening restrictions in the country’s most developed region.

Just last week, Duterte placed Metro Manila and surrounding provinces under modified enhanced community quarantine after an appeal from medical frontliners. (READ: Doctors warn Duterte: PH ‘nearing end of the line’ in coronavirus battle)

Duterte initially declared the areas under general community quarantine, but frontliners flagged hospitals as either already filled to the brim or already nearing full capacity. –

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.