By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Deputy Speaker and Antique lone district Rep. Loren Legarda said on Saturday (March 14) that the increasing number of cases of Filipinos afflicted with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) should prod everyone to “lead a more climate-friendly, more sustainable, and healthier lifestyle.”
While recognizing that more studies are needed to analyze the correlation of climate change and COVID-19, she said higher temperatures made other diseases surge, such as dengue, malaria, cholera, and typhoid.
“Climate change fast-tracks the spread of diseases caused by viruses and pathogens, which necessitates the same urgent action and response we are showing to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in the country,” Legarda said in a statement.
“COVID-19 reminds us of the urgency to lead a more climate-friendly, more sustainable, and healthier lifestyle. There still seems to be no end in sight for this health crisis, but we must remain vigilant and exercise proper hygiene to avoid spreading of the disease.”
The former senator expressed concern about the pronouncement of Dr. Celia Carlos of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) that there are only 1,200 available test kits as of now for the whole country.
It was earlier announced that only the severely symptomatic are being tested.
“That means it is possible that COVID-19 carriers may be around us, without us knowing it. So it’s best to stay home, if able, away from any crowds, and observe stringent sanitary habits. Let’s also eat healthy and simplify our lives,” Legarda said.
She appealed to the public to keep in mind the government’s advisories on proper hand washing, social distancing, and other public health safety measures put in place by the government authorities to ensure public safety.
She said public should adhere to local advisories and cooperate with the local public health authorities and disinfect home and work equipment daily.
“If you exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, such as cough, cold, fever, and sore throat, seek appropriate medical care immediately and stay at home. Avoid close contact with other people around you,” she said. “If you or any of your family members living with you have traveled and visited countries afflicted by the disease, submit yourself to 14 days of self-quarantine.”
She also reminded municipal mayors to direct the punong (chiefs of) barangays to ensure that the functions of barangay health workers are properly implemented, especially in terms of monitoring clustering pneumonia/flu-like cases in their respective barangays and reporting immediately to the Health Office.
Legarda said all barangays should conduct the daily clean up and disinfection of their barangay halls.
“Private establishments, such as hotels, inns, resorts, restaurants, coffee shops, malls, banks, hospitals, markets, and terminals shall follow protocols on disinfection and prevention of COVID-19 transmission,” she said. “Thermal thermometers should be used to determine if a client is febrile or not. Alcohol and sanitizers should be made available to the public.”
Legarda said all fiestas, meetings, summer outings, any mass gathering, and face-to-face meetings should all be postponed.