'Science is in charge': DOH-led group to determine time frame of Luzon lockdown

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2020 04:29 PM | Updated as of Mar 31 2020 04:48 PM

People react as they are stopped by PNP personnel manning the checkpoint at the border of Batasan Hills, Quezon City and San Mateo, Rizal after authorities instituted an enhanced community quarantine on March 16, 2020. They were eventually given 30 minutes to cross into Quezon City. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA- A technical working group led by the Department of Health will formulate recommendations for the possible lifting or extension of the month-long Luzon lockdown, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Tuesday.

The group, under the government inter-agency task force on COVID-19, will "finalize the parameters" that will serve as a guide for the possible lifting or extension of the enhanced community quarantine.

"Aaralin pa po ng DOH kung kailangan pong i-extend ito o hindi. Sa usapin na ito, Science is in charge. Sana po malinaw ito sa ating lahat," Nograles said.

(The DOH will still study the need to extend this quarantine or not. Where this discussion is concerned, Science is in charge. We hope that is clear to everyone.)

Nograles also debunked circulating rumors that the government would extend the quarantine for 60 days, saying no decision has been made yet.

"Uulitin po namin: hindi po totoo ang kumakalat na fake news na ie-extend ang enhanced community quarantine nang 60 days," the Palace official said.

(We reiterate that the fake news saying the enhanced community quarantine will be extended by 60 days are not true.)

Luzon was placed on lockdown from March 17 until April 12 to control the spread of COVID-19. People were told to stay at home as government suspended mass transportation, regulated access to food and basic necessities, and heightened the presence of state troops to enforce isolation procedures.

As of Monday, the Philippines has a total of 1,546 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 78 deaths and 42 recoveries.