Duterte adviser suggests localized lockdowns in Metro Manila after May 15

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 3)— Metro Manila— the region hardest-hit by COVID-19 in the country— may opt to implement localized lockdowns after May 15, an adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte suggested Sunday.

In a virtual press conference, Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said the move will help restart the economy in other areas.

"Kung ila-lockdown natin, kung i-ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) natin ang isang lugar, huwag na siguro 'yung buong NCR (National Capital Region). Baka pwede nating i-ECQ na lang 'yung isang city or 'yung barangay approach na ginawa ni Mayor (Isko Moreno) dito sa Tondo," Concepcion said in a briefing with PROJECT ARK.

"At least, matutuloy 'yung ekonomiya sa ibang lugar," he added.

[Translation: If we'll lock down areas, if we implement ECQ, maybe we won't have to implement in the whole NCR. Maybe we can do ECQ per city or do the barangay approach like what Mayor Moreno did in Tondo. At least, the economy in other areas can continue.]

Concepcion shared he believes the country has "done much to bring down the level" of COVID-19 infections, but stressed that mass and targeted testing should still remain in place.

"Dapat 'yung approach natin ngayon, 'yung test, test, test, talagang i-accelerate 'yan eh... Focused approach tayo, ang kailangan moving forward."

[Translation: Our approach should be, "test, test, test"— that should be accelerated. We need to have a focused approach moving forward.]

The enhanced community quarantine in the capital region and other COVID high-risk areas and provinces has been extended for another two weeks, with the number of cases still climbing by the day. Regions classified as lower risk areas, meanwhile, saw a gradual easing of lockdown measures under the "general community quarantine" policy.

READ: Gov’t finalizes rules for areas under enhanced, general community quarantine

Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno has implemented localized quarantine measures of his own, as he had placed the areas of Barangay 20, Sampaloc, and Tondo District 1 under lockdown in a span of weeks.

Moreno, for his part, said it is "too early to tell" whether the imposed quarantines are failing or succeeding, as long as the infection continues to thrive in a community.

To date, the Philippines has logged 9,223 cases of COVID-19, including 1,214 recoveries and 607 fatalities.