By Genalyn Kabiling
As the number COVID-19 cases rapidly rises in the country, Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Martin Andanar has appealed to the public to stay at home to protect themselves from the risk of contracting the disease.
Andanar made the appeal after lamenting that many people were still not following the government’s stay-at-home policy during the quarantine period in Luzon.
“Mahigpit po naming panawagan sa lahat ang ibayong pag-iingat. Panatilihin po natin ang kalinisan, palakasin natin ang ating resistensiya at ugaliin ang tamang paghuhugas ng kamay, social at physical distancing. Hangga’t maaari huwag na po tayong lumabas ng bahay.
(Our urgent appeal to everyone is to take precautions. Let’s observe cleanliness, strengthen our resistance, and practice regular washing of hands, social and physical distancing. Let’s not leave our homes as much as possible),” he said over government radio on March 28, Saturday.
“We stay at work for you, so please stay home for us—iyon nga ang sabi ng ating mga doctor at mga nurse (that’s the appeal of our doctors and nurses),” he added.
Andanar has discouraged the public from leaving their homes, saying it only defeats the purpose of the quarantine imposed by the government.
“Marami ang lumalabas pa rin ng kanilang mga tahanan (Many people are still leaving their homes), defeating the purpose of this enhanced community quarantine. The reason why we’re doing this is because we want to contain this disease,” he said.
”Sabi nga ng WHO, it gives us a little window to prepare in the eventuality na kapag tinesting itong mga mayroong sintomas ay kumpleto tayo sa mga testers in place (The WHO said it gives us a little window to prepare for the eventuality when there will be testing of those with symptoms, once our testers are in place),” he added.
In a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus, President Duterte has ordered an enhanced community quarantine in Luzon that requires residents to stay at home until April 12. Only one member of a household can leave the house to buy food and other essential items.
Mass public transportation has been suspended, while businesses have been encouraged to adopt work from home arrangements.
Groceries, public markets, drug stores, banks, power, water, and telecommunications facilities are among the establishments allowed to stay open.
Transport of food and essential non-food items has also been permitted during the quarantine to ensure adequate supplies.
As of March 28, the country has recorded 1,075 COVID-19 cases, including 68 fatalities.