At the same time, the City of Manila is intensifying its preparations to address the most critical issues affecting the health and economic sectors in case the MECQ is extended.
Malacañang said earlier that it is still too early to say if the MECQ will be extended after April 30. Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque stated, "Sa ngayon po I think premature na mag-speculate kung ano magiging classification natin."
Prior to the implementation of this year's ECQ and MECQ, the City of Manila had been implementing granular lockdowns on barangays that had 10 or more cases of COVID-19.
Back then, Domagoso had said that, as much as possible, he didn't want to impose a citywide lockdown because this would lead to people's loss of income or jobs. Then again, this strategy was superseded by the decision of the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
To recall, the NCR Plus bubble has been placed under MECQ since April 12 after enduring a stricter ECQ to curb the rise of COVID-19 infections.
"We have to balance also," Domagoso said in an interview on ANC's "Matters of Fact" earlier this week.
"We cannot sustain actions addessing one situation without resources. The only way for the government to exist efficiently and effectively is to generate resources. Now, the economy is being gravely affected by some policies. There is a thin [line] between life and economy. While I choose life, at the same time [I know that] kailangan [ng tao ang] hanapbuhay. Kailangan nila ng pagkain."
Over the past days, Manila has experienced a decline in COVID-19 infections. The number of active new cases logged as been steadily going down. On April 19, the city logged 512 new active cases, on April 20 there were 495, April 21 had 318, April 22 had 300. However, Domagoso said, "But for me, this is still alarming."
The mayor said, the health care workers in the city's six district hospitals — the Ospital ng Sampaloc, Sta. Ana Hospital, Ospital ng Maynila, Gat Andres Bonifacio Medical Center, Justice Jose Abad Santos Memorial Medical Hospital, and Ospital ng Tondo — were still dealing with more than they could handle.
Domagoso explained that while a good number who have COVID-19 are asymptomatic, there is still a large number getting infected. "Mapupuno ang mga ospital kaya kailangan namin kumilos nang mabilis to find a solution for this situation," he said.
As such, the LGU recently broke ground for the Manila P154-million COVID-19 Field Hospital on April 20. The health facility, which will cover 4,402 square meters, is set to be built within Rizal Park’s 2.8-hectare Burnham Green.
With a 336-bed capacity, it is expected to serve mild to moderate COVID-19 patients.
The construction of the field hospital is expected to be completed in 60 days.
With this, the six district hospitals will be decongested and will have more room for severe COVID-19 patients. The LGU is likewise in the process of procuring additional ICU equipment for the district hospitals.
To address the economic impact of the pandemic, the City of Manila also has the ongoing COVID-19 Food Security Program (FSP), wherein food boxes — which contain contain three kilos of rice, 16 canned goods, and 8 sachets of coffee — are distributed to around 700,000 families each month. Launched in February this year, the FSP just finished delivering the food boxes for the month of April. (PIA NCR)
By Susan G. De Leon