UP Experts Suggest a Modified Community Quarantine Once Luzon’s Lockdown Ends

Data scientists from the University of the Philippines recommend the implementation of localized quarantine measures after Luzon’s enhanced community quarantine ends on April 30.

mandaluyong luzon lockdown community quarantine

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The enhanced community quarantine saw a drastic change in the daily life of Luzon’s residents. The majority of its population have kept to their homes, business and commerce have halted, and public transportation has been stopped en masse.

The UP COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team’s findings show that such measures have positively resulted in containing the spread of the virus based on the trend in the number of confirmed cases and the case fatality rate. However, it also reported that a Luzon-wide lockdown may not be sustainable in the long run.

“Prolonged restriction on the movement of goods and services over a large area (i.e. region-wide) can unnecessarily paralyze local economies,” the report read.

Instead, the UP scientists suggest a modified community quarantine wherein only areas with a very high outbreak threshold should continue enforcing an ECQ.

“Our best recourse after April 30 is to implement graduated activation of ECQ depending on the level of risk in certain areas at a given time. Under this set-up, provinces (or even lower-level LGUs) may be put under ECQ depending on how close or far they are to an estimated outbreak threshold,” the report read.

According to the team, there are at least 16 provinces that have outbreak probability rates of more than 90%. These are Bataan, Batangas, Benguet, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Metro Manila, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Quezon, Rizal and Tarlac in Luzon. The remaining 3 are Aklan and Cebu in Visayas and Davao del Sur in Mindanao.

Areas with an outbreak probability of less than 80% are suggested not to declare community quarantine at all. Interventions such as information campaigns, general physical distancing, testing, and contact tracing should still be applied.

Areas with over 80% probability of outbreak are recommended to enforce general community quarantine, while areas with over 90% probability of outbreak should still implement enhanced community quarantine.

Localities with an outbreak probability of 99% or more should declare an extreme enhanced community quarantine.

“Soon we will have to decide when to restart economic activities and, these localized metrics, which can be done up to barangay level may aid policy decisions on the preservation of both lives and livelihood,” the report read.

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