Doctors warn on easing lockdown, fear second wave of COVID-19

Published May 5, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Gabriela Baron

Doctors are cautioning against downgrading the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other parts of Luzon in the wake of fears of a second wave of COVID-19 transmissions.

Market goers sit 1 chair apart while waiting to enter a supermarket before the 48 hour hard lockdown of Sampaloc Area. Photo by Jansen Romero
Market goers sit one chair apart while waiting to enter a supermarket in Sampaloc, Manila. (Jansen Romero / MANILA BULLETIN)

Dr. Imelda Mateo, hospital chief of Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center, said that the hospital admits 5 to 10 patients daily.

“Unti-unti tumataas pa rin (It still rises little by little) on a daily basis, kasi (because) we see and manage co-morbid and treat them as such. That has been the case for the past 3 days,” Mateo said in an interview with ABS-CBN News.

The physician said that downgrading quarantine measures should only be done if the public has become disciplined.

“‘Pag talagang disciplined na ang public (If the public becomes disciplined) to abide by the recommendations on infection prevention, social distancing, personal distancing, hand washing, staying at home when it’s not necessary to go out,” Mateo added.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tony Ramos, deputy incident commander of the Lung Center of the Philippines, warned about the “surge” or second wave of COVID-19.

“Ang kinatatakutan namin ay kung mada-downgrade na ‘yung extended community quarantine into a general community quarantine, definitely there will be more interaction, mas magdidikitan ang mga tao; pag nagka-community transmission, tataas yung numbers,” Ramos told ABS-CBN News.

(What we fear is that if the ECQ gets eased, definitely there will be more interaction and more public interactions mean more community transmission, the numbers will increase anew.)

Ramos said that the Lung Center of the Philippines is on stand by in case the second wave happens. He said the hospital is already preparing additional beds, ventilators, and is hiring more healthcare workers.

Amang Rodriguez Hospital, meanwhile, built a 120-bed quarantine facility in cooperation with the local government of Marikina City, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Filipino architects.

Philippine General Hospital (PGH) has also conducted “surge planning.”

“Kung ilu-loosen ‘yung quarantine, expect mong mas may pagkakataon na magsama-sama ulit ang mga tao. Mas malaki ang chance na magkapasahan ulit. Nagwo-worry kami na kapag nag-relax na ng lockdown, dodoble ba ang magkakasakit na naman? (If they loosen the lockdown, expect public gatherings. The likelihood of another community transmission is high. It worries us, will it double the COVID-19 cases again?” said Dr. Jonas del Rosario, PGH spokesperson.

Del Rosario advised the public to remember what they are taught during the lockdown.

“Wag tayong makampante. Ang COVID-19, nandyan pa. Wala pang bakuna, wala pang gamot. Kahit luwagan na ang ECQ, wag nyong kalimutan, hugas kamay, mag-mask, wag magtabi-tabi (Don’t relax just yet. COVID-19 is still there. No vaccine nor cure yet. Even if the ECQ is lifted, let’s not forget to wash our hands, wear masks, and maintain social distancing),” he ended.