How effective are granular lockdowns? Medical group weighs in

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 6) — Despite the government's decision to ease restrictions, the effectiveness of granular lockdown in controlling COVID-19 infections is not yet proven, a leader of a medical group warned on Monday.

"We do not have any evidence as to whether granular lockdowns are effective," Dr. Maricar Limpin, president of the Philippine College of Physicians, told CNN Philippines' The Source.

The National Capital Region will ease to general community quarantine on Sept. 8-30 while implementing specific "pocket area" lockdowns to prevent the spread of infection without disrupting livelihood and business operations. More specific guidelines will follow, but Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte already approved the granular lockdown "in principle."

RELATED: NCR shifts to GCQ on Sept. 8 to pilot test localized lockdowns 

However, Limpin said the workers who report to offices outside their place of residence must be considered in the implementation of granular lockdowns.

"May mga nangyaring granular (lockdown) dati pero hindi naman natin nalaman kung effective o hindi. That means walang papasok o walang lalabas sa mga lugar na ito," she said. "Pero alam naman natin na dito sa National Capital Region ang mga tao hindi necessarily nagtatrabaho lang within the local government unit kung saan naroon sila. They could be crossing other LGUs."

[Translation: Granular lockdowns were implemented before, but we never knew if they were effective or not. That means, no one can enter or exit these areas. But we know that most people here in the National Capital Region do not necessarily work within the local government unit where they live. They could be crossing other LGUs.]

"So ang magiging problema diyan, how will we be able to effectively implement 'yung granular lockdown na iyan?" she noted.

[Translation: So the problem is, how will we be able to effectively implement that granular lockdown?]

Limpin also pointed out that people who will be affected by the lockdown must receive financial support and other means of assistance.

She said the government must ensure that efficient steps are in place so that the localized lockdown will work, especially because the strict enhanced community quarantine that took effect last Aug. 6-20 still allowed mobility among people.

Metro Manila will be under the modified ECQ until Sept. 7.