HEALTH Secretary Francisco Duque III on Monday, August 23, 2021, said he found it “troubling” that cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) have continued to increase despite the more stringent quarantine restrictions.

During a Go Negosyo online forum, Duque said there has been “sustained high community transmission of Covid-19” in surge areas such as the National Capital Region, Central Visayas and Northern Mindanao.

Duque excused himself from the forum because he had to attend an emergency meeting with regional Department of Health (DOH) officials.

“We need to address this, that despite prolonged ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) status there seems to be no improvement…It is really troubling, to say the least,” he said.

He did not provide comparative figures, but DOH officials earlier said the impact of a lockdown is usually felt two or three weeks later. Covid-19 has an incubation period of up to 14 days.

The NCR was placed on ECQ again from August 6 to 20. It shifted to modified ECQ (MECQ) on August 21.

Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City have been under MECQ since August 1.

Iloilo City, Iloilo province, Cagayan de Oro City and Gingoog in Misamis Oriental were also placed under ECQ from July 16 to August 7. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo / SunStar Philippines)