CHECKPOINT. Personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) of Dasmariñas City enforce the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease on March 30, 2020. The Department of Health (DOH) has been directed to finalize the “analytical model” for determining whether there is a need to extend the ECQ which is set to end on April 12. (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

The Department of Health (DOH) has been directed to finalize the “analytical model” for determining whether there is a need to extend the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has tasked a sub-technical working group chaired by DOH to finalize the model for approval of the task force.

“The sub-technical working group (TWG) chaired by the Department of Health (DOH) is hereby directed to finalize the analytical model for deciding on the eventual total or partial lifting, or the possible extension or expansion of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon,” Nograles said in a virtual presser on Thursday.

He said members of the TWG are National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), including technical experts, the academe, and such other representatives from the health, economic, and security sectors as may be determined by the DOH.

“Ang rekomendasyon ng TWG ay ang siyang magiging batayan ng desisyon ng IATF sa usaping ito (The recommendation of the TWG will be the basis for IATF to make a decision regarding this matter),” he said.

Earlier, Nograles said the government would continue to implement measures against Covid-19 until there are a significantly lower number of infected patients.

“We are trying to flatten the curve and manage lahat ng nangyayari sa ating bansa (everything that is happening in the country),” he said.

He said the pandemic is “far from over” but emphasized the government’s priority to achieve “minimize deaths until it reaches to zero” and ensure that there are “more recoveries.”

As of Wednesday, health authorities said the country has 2,311 confirmed Covid-19 cases, 96 fatalities, and 50 recoveries.

The government has increased its testing capability following the procurement of more Covid-19 test kits. It also ramped up quarantine and isolation measures.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said he will be recommending a “gradual lifting” of the quarantine to the IATF-EID to ensure that the new norm of social distancing will be observed.

He said the gradual lifting will allow essential businesses and their supply chain to go back to their operations.

“What’s important is to bring back economic activities so that people can return to their jobs while we are still observing the new norm,” he said in a Laging Handa public briefing.

Lopez also reminded companies to examine their employees who will return to work to ensure that they are not sick.

He said even businesses are cautious about the total lifting of enhanced community quarantine by April 12.

Some establishments involved in the business of selling basic necessities such as food, medicine, hygiene products remain in operation despite the month-long community quarantine placed over Luzon. (PNA)