Reality check



Erik Espina Erik Espina

“Things will get worse before they get better,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, American immunologist, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and member of the White House Coronavirus pandemic team. Health Chief Francisco Duque III warned, our stats have not yet peaked. Previous DOH reports estimated 75,000 local infections, with 3% to 4% mortality in the country.

A reality check on the April 14 nationwide quarantine ending at this point is likely illusory. One month of the Metro Manila and Luzon quarantine initiated on March 15, will not address the objectives of containment and purging of Covid-19 in our communities.

If China is to be the template for Covid-19, our program must be as draconian. The January 23 lock-down in Wuhan province resulted in closures in international and domestic travel for all citizens, except individuals given state permits. In short, the whole country was closed. Worrisome for authorities in Beijing today is a second wave of re-infection, from returning nationals.

We can learn from this dark episode. Half-measures will only lead to postponing eventual consequences. Here in Cebu, DOH sources intimated, closing the airports to international visitors would mitigate the numbers worsening. For example, he observed, bag-porters and security guards without any face mask are meeting foreign passengers. Recently, several hundreds of tourists were simply allowed to enter Cebu. A so-called “mo­nitoring system” for hotel quarantine, is porous. I asked, would a lock-down help? “Definitely”, he exclaimed. “It is what worked in China,” he said. For returning OFWs/countrymen, renting a ship/island for (medical) quarantine/treatment must be the regime.