Bayan reminds gov’t: COVID-19 problems emerged because you didn’t listen
MANILA, Philippines – A militant group has refuted the administration’s claims that the Philippines is in a better situation compared to other countries fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, reminding authorities that they chose to ignore warnings from the public.
The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) on Friday stressed that the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was placed all over Luzon because President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration did not heed calls, as early as January and February, to restrict inbound flights especially those from China.
The COVID-19 pandemic originated in Wuhan, China, and was believed to have been transferred to humans from pangolins and bats — as a result of the wildlife trade within the Asian superpower.
“The Philippines has had to resort to extreme quarantine measures precisely because of the failure of the Duterte regime to impose travel restrictions, do proper contact tracing, and recognize in a timely manner the local transmission that had been ongoing in the country,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said.
“Don’t tell us we are better off. We are in this difficult situation because government downplayed many of the red flags early on. Remember that time when a patient from Greenhills with no travel history was infected with the virus, and Duque said that’s not local transmission because it’s just one person?” he asked.
Recently, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III boasted that the Philippines has one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in the world, despite a limited testing capacity.
The Philippines, which has 4,195 COVID-19 cases, 221 of which have already died while at least 140 have recovered, remains to have a relatively low incidence of the COVID-19. In other countries like the United States (US), Spain, and Italy, the numbers have increased exponentially.
READ: BREAKING: COVID-19 cases in PH breach 4,000 mark; now at 4,076
US now has the largest number of infected patients, with 466,033 cases; while the highest death rates are found in Italy, with 18,279 deaths over 143,626 cases for a staggering 12.72 percent mortality rate.
However, observers and people on social media have insisted that the Philippines’ point of comparison should be its neighbors in the Southeast Asian region. In that case, the country only trails Malaysia (4,336 cases) and has more cases compared to Indonesia (3,512), Thailand (2,473), Singapore (1,910) and Vietnam (255).
Notably, only Indonesia has more recorded deaths than the Philippines (306), while the rest of the mentioned countries have lesser casualties: Malaysia has 68 deaths, Thailand with 33, Singapore with just six, and Vietnam has zero deaths.
Reyes said that the worst-case scenario for the Philippines — infections that can rise to as many as 140,000 — can be prevented if government implements a strict community quarantine, mass testing procedures, and treatment of patients.
However, he also urged the government to act fast as the lockdown’s deadline is fast approaching. The ECQ, which has suspended work except for frontline services, is slated to last until April 30.
“The expanded quarantine has become necessary to slow down the spread of the disease given that our health system cannot cope with the rise of new cases. Slowing down the spread of the disease entails stopping the movement of people, especially when we do not yet have a clear picture of the extent of the infections,” he explained.
“What will prolong the lockdown is the failure of the government to implement the necessary health measures to confront the pandemic. What will prolong the lockdown is the failure of government to implement the needed economic support for the people. A hungry populace will not stay put and will break quarantine protocols, and will be more vulnerable to sickness,” he added.
Edited by JPV
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