Mayors in Metro Manila have submitted this week recommendations to ease quarantine measures in the Philippine capital starting June 1.
“Our mayors see that the economy needs to restart … We need to reopen the economy because more people would die of hunger,” said Jojo Garcia, general manager of the Metro Manila Development Authority.
The entire capital region is currently under “modified enhanced community quarantine.” A more relaxed “general community quarantine” will allow businesses to operate.
Independent think tank IBON Foundation, however, said the government is “caught between lack of science and intense pressure from big businesses.”
Rosario Guzman, executive editor of the group, said the government’s narrative aims to win against the coronavirus and “to pick up from the economic slump.”
Guzman called on the public to examine the entire health situation of the country before going out.
“Have we flattened the curve? No one really knows,” she said
She cited that 350 new coronavirus cases were recorded on May 26, the highest since April 7, and the mortality rate is still at six percent.
“These metrics are based on a government pandemic response where there is only limited testing. Our knowledge thus can only be that limited,” said Guzman.
“The curve is all about the infection rate of the virus – any effort to flatten it is futile if there is no mass testing, contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine,” said Guzman.
Based on the health department’s data, the highest number of COVID-19 testing recorded on a single day was 10,841 unique individuals.
IBON Foundation reported that from May 16 to May 25, the government has only tested a daily average of 8,077 samples.
There are more than 6,500 backlogs that are for validation of positive results, which are not yet included in the total number of confirmed cases.
The Philippines has a total of 1,845 COVID-19 referral and accepting hospitals, most of which are privately-owned, while the health department accounts for only 73 hospitals.
The Philippines has 15,049 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 10,639 active cases, 904 deaths, and 3,506 people who recovered from the disease as of May 27.