Medical frontliners to gov’t: ‘Time-out,’ revert Mega Manila back to ECQ
MANILA, Philippines — Medical frontliners on Saturday banded together to call on the government to place Mega Manila again under a period of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from Aug 1 to 15 as coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country continue to surge.
Mega Manila consists of the National Capital Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) and Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Rombon, and Palawan).
During a press conference held by the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP), Philippine Medical Association (PMA) president Dr. Jose Santiago said the period of ECQ will serve as a “time out” to “recalibrate the government’s COVID-19 strategies.”
“We proposed that this ECQ be used as a time out to refine our pandemic control strategies, addressing the following urgent conditions: hospital workforce efficiency, failure of case finding and isolation, failure of contact tracing and quarantine, transportation safety, workplace safety, public compliance with self-protection, social amelioration,” Santiago said, as he read a letter addressed to President Rodrigo Duterte about the medical frontliners’ call.
Santiago said that the “distressed call was made” as the country’s healthcare system is “overwhelmed.”
“We have seen a consistent rise in the number of infections and these, among other scenarios, prompts us to act now and act fast,” the PMA president said.
“We understand that imposing enhanced community quarantine is a complex decision. Let us remember we need healthy people to reinvigorate the economy. Our healthcare workers can no longer bear the burden of deciding who lives and who dies,” Santiago added.
President Rodrigo Duterte previously announced that Metro Manila and other areas will remain under general community quarantine until Aug. 15.
The Department of Health, meanwhile, reported on Friday that there are 4,063 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the country’s case total to 93,354.
“Ang gusto po naming iparating na ang health care natin ngayon, lalong lalo na po kaming mga frontliners, ay talagang napapagod na,” PCP vice president Dr. Marircar Limpin said.
(What we want to say that our health care, especially our frontliners, are really tired.)
“Nakita po natin na mula nung July 30 na biglang bumulusok na naman ang number of cases ng COVID-19 dito sa Piipinas,” she added.
(We saw that on July 30, COVID-19 cases then surged.)
“We are just asking for a time out,” Limpin said. “Two weeks lang ang hinihingi namin para makahinga kami at para makapag-isip po tayo para paano ba natin talaga mako-control ang [pag-spread] ng infection na ito.”
(We are just asking for two weeks so we could rest, and also think of how we can control the spread of the infection.)
Below is the letter of the PCP, which is supported by other medical groups:
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