NTF adviser recommends “localized lockdown” amid Delta variant transmission


(Eagle News) – The special adviser of the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 strongly recommended the use of “localized” or granular lockdowns that target small areas where there are clustering of COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Ted Herbosa said that using “localized lockdowns” is very important as COVID-19 cases rise again in the country. On Tuesday, July 27, the Philippines has in fact again recorded a high number of cases at more than 7,000 cases. This is the highest so far this month.

In an interview with the NET25 program “Balitalakayan” on Wednesday, July 28, Herbosa said that it had been proven that city-wide or region-wide lockdowns are detrimental to the economy, and do not necessarily address the problem.

Ang iminumungkahi natin sa National Task Force at sa IATF ay paigtingin ang tinatawag na localized lockdown,” he said.

These localized lockdowns will target, barangays or even areas in the barangay with reported clustering of cases.

Ito yung maagap na lockdown sa maliit na lugar, bago kumalat sa malalaking lugar,” Herbosa explained.

The NTF adviser also noted the rising positivity rate in COVID-19 cases at 13 percent, and the higher than 1 reproductive number.

This signifies there is now a very active local transmission of cases.

Herbosa said that the Delta variant cases in the country could be higher than the 119 cases reported by the Department of Health, since this was only based on the results of the genome sequencing of the UP-Philippine Genome Center (PGC).   Only over 9,000 COVID-19 samples have been submitted to the PGC for sequencing.

-Current health care capacity can still manage cases-

But, at the same time, he also stressed that the health care capacity in the country, currently between 50 percent to 60 percent — can still manage the COVID-19 cases.

So meron pa tayong kapasidad to handle yung surge of cases,” he said.

“Ang ating approach now is really the localized lockdown. Ginagawa lang siguro ang pag-lockdown pag napuno na ang mga hospital,” Herbosa said.

-ECQ only recommended when health care system is overwhelmed-

He stressed that putting an area under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) is only resorted to when the health care system is overwhelmed.

Pag napuno na ang ICU beds. Magkakaroon tayo ng access block,” he said.

Nangyari yan sa atin last April. Yung mga naghihintay, namamatay sa tent sa labas ng ER, or doon sa ambulansya. Yan ang panahon na kailangan na maghigpit tayo at mag-ECQ, pag na-overwhelm na ang ating health care system.” Herbosa explained.

He also explained why localized lockdowns were better than a region-wide or city-wide lockdown, or the “circuit breaker” lockdown being suggested by the OCTA Research.

Herbosa said that when a lockdown is instituted in a large area, when a granular lockdown would do, the rise in cases usually happens even faster after the lockdown is lifted.

He said areas in Australia and UK which instituted the so-called circuit breakdown lockdowns also had an increase in cases once restrictions were lifted.

(Eagle News Service)