Coronavirus menace response: Pacquiao to file ‘New Normal’ bill
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Manny Pacquiao is set to file a “New Normal” bill that would serve as a code of conduct and impose a list of social distancing protocols even after the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine due to the novel coronavirus menace is lifted.
In a statement on Monday, Pacquiao underscored the need to create standard hygiene and social distancing protocols which should strictly be enforced to protect lives as he stressed “life will never be the same” until a vaccine against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is formulated.
“Nakakalungkot mang isipin ngunit kailangan talaga nating magkaroon ng panibagong patarakaran sa ating pakikisalamuha kung sakaling mawala na itong ipinapatupad na Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ),” the senator said.
“Hangga’t hindi natin natatagpuan ang tamang gamot laban sa COVID-19 ay hinding-hindi babalik sa normal ang ating pamumuhay at wala tayong ibang maaaring sandata kundi ang tamang pag-iingat,” he added.
Pacquiao said gestures like ojigi (Japan – style bowing) and waving should be encouraged since physical contact like handshakes, “beso-beso”, hugging and kissing in public may have to be discouraged temporarily even after the lifting of the lockdown.
There may also be a need to change the way businesses are conducted to minimize the possibility of viral transmission especially in the retail and food trade, he said.
The senator proposed that the current practice of social distancing inside supermarkets be enforced even after the ECQ has been lifted to avoid physical contacts that can jumpstart another contagion.
Pacquiao also said old practices in supermarkets should change to adapt to the present challenges triggered by the pandemic.
Online shopping and time limit
Instead of the usual shopping practices where people flock to the supermarket to buy whatever they want and stay there for as long as they please, the senator said customers should be required to shop within a time limit.
Online shopping can also become the “new normal” to reduce the threat of another pandemic, Pacquiao said.
Food, dining safety
Restaurants, eateries and other food establishments may also need to adopt tighter social distancing and hygiene measures to discourage physical contact among customers and at the same time avoid food contamination, Pacquiao pointed out.
Live, closed door
The senator said concerts, parties, basketball and footballs games, and even mixed martial arts and boxing matches should no longer have live audiences but can may be aired live.
Churches may also need to observe new protocols in doing services to avoid physical contacts among churchgoers, he added.
Clean rest rooms
Public comfort rooms, including those in hotels, restaurants, gasoline stations and similar facilities should be required to have bottles of alcohol or hand sanitizers and hand soaps at all times.
New Normal Law
“In short, itong social distancing ang magiging new normal sa panahon ng COVID-19…I think we cannot enforce this properly without the force of law,” Pacquiao said.
“That is why I will be pushing this New Normal Law so that we can enforce it and require people to follow it. Ito ay hindi para lang sa kanila kundi maging sa kanilang mga mahal sa buhay,” he added.
His proposed measure would also include the creation of a complete communication database for all families nationwide which can be used in the event of another health emergency.
The communication database, he added, can be used by the government not only in the delivery of important notices and reminders but also in the provision of amelioration support by way of virtual wallets.
To date, Philippine health officials have confirmed 6,259 COVID-19 cases in the country.
Four hundred nine patients have died while 572 others have recovered.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier placed the entire Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country continued to increase.
The quarantine became effective on March 17 and was initially set to be lifted on April 13.
The quarantine period, however, has been extended until April 30.
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