Vaccinations to continue as COVID-19 more threatening than floods, rain
MANILA, Philippines — Did Manila Mayor Isko Moreno just take a shot against President Rodrigo Duterte?
It is not clear if the local executive answered the President’s tirades during his final State of the Nation Address (Sona), but Moreno explained the reason as to why COVID-19 vaccinations continue in Manila, come rain or floodwaters:
That COVID-19 does not take a break or a vacation, unlike governments.
“Ang tanong, may baha ba last year? Meron. May ulan ba last year? […] But to cut the long story short, my question is, si COVID-19 ba titigil kapag umulan? Si COVID-19 ba, titigil kapag Sabado (kasi) Sabado hindi nagtatrabaho ‘yong mga gobyerno na ‘yon,” Moreno said in his Facebook live program.
(The question is, did we have floods last year? Yes. Did we have rains last year? Yes. But to cut a long story short, my question is, will COVID-19 stop due to rains? Will COVID-19 stop on a Saturday since government is not working on that day?)
“Linggo, titigil ba si COVID-19? Naku Linggo, hindi rin nagtatrabaho ang mga gobyerno na ‘yon,” he added. “‘Yong baha, hindi ka papatayin no’n, mahirap ang baha kapabayaan ‘yan ng gobyerno […] pero ‘yang baha na ‘yan, hindi ‘yan makakatigil kay COVID-19, may impeksyon pa rin.”
(On a Sunday, will COVID-19 stop? On Sundays the government also does not work. Low floods may not kill you, it would be hard, but that is actually due to the government’s incapacity. But that flood would not stop COVID-19, infections would still happen.)
Moreno then warned citizens who people may persuade to think ill of the city’s initiatives to get people vaccinated against COVID-19, saying that thosewho say such things do not get to experience their hardships.
Instead, he even encouraged people to get vaccinated to resume normalcy and be resilient against the disease.
“Natutulog sila kung saan masarap ang buhay nila, at gagamitin ang inyong mga ginawa na hindi niyo inalintana, na ‘yong papunta sa vaccination site ay talagang baha, ngunit hindi kayo nagpapigil sapagkat nakinig kayo sa akin na mahalagang mabakunahan tayo,” he noted.
(They would sleep where they are comfortable and then use your efforts to go to vaccination sites even under the rain and over floodwaters — which you endured because you listened to me about getting vaccinated.)
“Kaya tayo, dapat ‘wag tayo magpapatinag, let’s focus on our objective […] Ang makakapigil kay COVID-19 ay pagdidisiplina ng tao, at ‘yong bakuna. ‘Yan ang importante, kaya we must focus to our objective,” he added.
(That’s why we should not be distracted; let’s focus on our objectives. What would stop COVID-19 is discipline among people and the vaccines. That’s what is important, so we should focus on our objective.)
During his final Sona on Monday, Duterte vented his frustration over a local government unit (LGU) which he did not name, for allegedly leaving people to line up for COVID-19 vaccines despite heavy rains.
The President said that the unnamed LGU is so removed from the people’s struggles, suggesting that they should instead use other facilities like gymnasiums and schools for the vaccination program.
While there was no mention of what city Duterte was referring to, reports from the previous week showed Typhoon Fabian intensifying the southwest monsoon and bringing rains over Luzon. This forced people to wade through floodwaters just to get their vaccine shots.
One of the cities that continued the vaccinations was Manila, a flood-prone area in the capital region. However, contrary to Duterte’s insinuations that unfit vaccination sites were used, the vaccination facility that got flooded was actually a covered court — the San Andres Sports Complex.
LGUs like Manila saw an ally in activist group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, who stressed that no long lines would occur if the government was only able to procure enough vaccines ahead of time — or even before the monsoon season.
While the government is banking on COVID-19 vaccines to resume normalcy in the country, it faces a possible roadblock in the dreaded Delta variant, deemed to be 60 percent more infectious that the already more transmissible Alpha variant.
Earlier, Moreno also warned that the Delta variant may already be spreading undetected in the city because genome sequencing to detect the Delta variant takes some time.
The Delta variant, first seen in India, has been characterized by increased transmissibility, leading to record-breaking surges in the said country during the second quarter of 2021 and the recent surge Indonesia is experiencing.
The situation in Indonesia has led health experts across the globe to monitor the Southeast Asian country as cases soar higher than previous surges.
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