Ako Bicol Rep. Elizaldy Co, one of the original proponents of the selective and modified quarantine scheme, today (24 April 2020) lauded the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to extend the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and other provinces while gradually easing stay-at-home orders in areas with zero or very few cases of COVID-19.
Last April 14, it will be recalled that Rep. Co pushed for conditional quarantine lifting to restart economic activities in select areas and help ease government’s burden during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include island-provinces with zero to one case of COVID-19 in the last 15 days or – in the case of municipalities – only those with zero cases.
“The objective of quarantine lifting is to allow people, albeit in limited numbers and in select localities, to return to their jobs. We’re fighting a protracted war and until no vaccine is invented, government’s limited resources can’t support and feed all those who were displaced. We need to save government funds for the longer battle,” Co stressed.
During today’s televised briefing, President Duterte – per advise of the Inter-Agency Task Force of Emerging Infectious Diseases – declared that 40 provinces with moderate to low rates of COVID-19 infection will be placed under general community quarantine where return to work will be in phases. Many of these areas are island-provinces that Rep. Co has earlier identified as primary candidates for modified quarantine.
While the solon welcomed the gradual easing of quarantine restrictions as a precursor to full economic reopening, he advised local residents in those areas to continuously observe social distancing, wearing of masks and frequent hand washing. “We sacrificed for more than a month under strict quarantine. Don’t throw it away by letting our guard down. Let’s follow the new norm,” he stressed.