DILG warns India COVID-19 catastrophe awaits PH if people defy health rules
MANILA, Philippines—A ranking official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday (May 24) warned of an India COVID-19 scenario in the Philippines if the public failed to heed health protocols.
Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, also DILG spokesperson, issued the warning after at least 50 Quezon City residents tested positive for SARS Cov2, the highly contagious virus that causes COVID-19, a disease which has no known cure yet.
“I’m pleading for discipline. Let’s exercise discipline,” Malaya said at an online briefing. “If we do not exercise discipline, we will have an India scenario especially with the variants from other parts of the world,” he said.
Malaya said the government has so far inoculated 4 million Filipinos with coronavirus vaccines, which he said was a number still far from that target 50 million needed for herd immunity.
“It’s already a record but still far from herd protection,” Malaya said.
“So from now until herd protection, we need to be very careful,” he said partly in Filipino.
“Otherwise we’re looking at an India scenario for the Philippines. We can no longer afford that because our economy contracted 4.5 percent at the beginning of the year,” he said.
India is currently crumbling from a catastrophic second wave of COVID-19 cases blamed on an unprepared health care system and millions of people refusing to heed advisory to keep safe distances from each other.
Malaya said an investigation is underway on the Quezon City superspreader event, which led to 610 residents being tested for SARS Cov2 or any of its variants.
Eighteen of those tested are awaiting results, while 31 were already admitted in the city’s quarantine facilities.
“Investigation is still ongoing but we would like to emphasize that mass gatherings, especially during a pandemic, are banned,” Malaya said partly in Filipino. “Pool parties are covered under mass gatherings,” he said.
“We appeal to the public to please stop conducting these mass gatherings,” Malaya said.
“They are not only illegal, but as shown by what happened in Quezon City, it is a continuing threat to public health,” he said.
He reiterated President Rodrigo Duterte’s warning to local government officials and police that they would be held responsible for any superspreader events in their jurisdictions.
Local officials and police face charges of dereliction of duty and negligence if they failed to enforce the ban on mass gatherings.
Other areas outside Metro Manila have seen a spike in COVID-19 cases due to superspreader events, Malaya said.
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