Lockdown pointless without medical solutions to pandemic – Zarate
MANILA, Philippines — Extending the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and nearby provinces will be pointless if the government does not ramp up medical solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Without massive free mass testing, aggressive contact tracing, effective and timely isolation and treatment, as well as a fast-tracked vaccination rollout, extending the lockdown would be next to pointless as this does not squarely address the problem of COVID-19 infections,” Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said on Saturday, the sixth day of the lockdown.
Zarate warned that it would “just be repeating the same militarist, inefficient and highly ineffective lockdowns,” and that extending the lockdown would be a “glaring admission that the administration failed and is continuing to fail in its pandemic response.”
“Also, the aid that was supposed to be given to the affected people, now on the sixth day of the lockdown, is still nowhere in sight for the majority,” he added.
The lawmaker made the remarks as Malacañang was expected to announce the new community quarantine classifications.
On Saturday, the daily uptick reached another record high with 12,576 additional cases, bringing the total number of cases to 784,043. Of this figure, 165,715 are active cases.
Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal were placed under lockdown for a week in an attempt to stem the spread of COVID-19 and its new variants.
The lockdown was meant to provide a “breather” for hospitals and health-care institutions, which were straining from the deluge of severe COVID-19 cases.
In the past week, social media was flooded with accounts of COVID-19 patients searching for hospitals outside of Metro Manila and nearby provinces, which could admit them. Many have died while waiting for admission.
Zarate said testing should reach 120,000 to 130,000 per day to identify those infected.
“At the current positivity rate of the virus, it is more likely that more are already infected but have not been tested yet,” he said, adding that contact tracing of close contacts should be expanded to at least 37 close contacts.
“More concentrated vaccination efforts should be done in areas with higher infections and the vaccinations should be done fast on front-line health workers and senior citizens. For the government to ensure the continuous rollout of vaccines, it has to get its act together and hurry up with its procurement. This is no time to play favorites or look for kickbacks,” he said.
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