Another 2 weeks of GCQ restrictions

Published June 19, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

E CARTOON JUN 20, 2020

The Philippines appeared to have a “good record” in recoveries from COVID-19, President Duterte said early this week. Out of 26,420 cases, there were 6,252 recoveries and 1,098 deaths. The President, however, chose to retain the restrictions of a General Community Quarantine (GCQ) for Metro Manila, heeding the recommendation of University of the Philippines experts that relaxing restrictions now may double the number of cases in the country to 40,000.

The people of Metro Manila and its industries and businesses will have to wait for another 15 days and hope that at the end of the two weeks on July 1, there will be further easing of restrictions in a Modified GCQ.

There are many who have long been impatient to return to their lives and activities before the lockdown on March 16 – an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) – but they should see the need for caution in the light of new developments in some countries.

New Zealand, which had announced last week that its last COVID-19 case had recovered, reported it now has two new cases – arrivals from United Kingdom. China, which had appeared to have stopped the original outbreak in Wuhan City, reported 27 new infections in Beijing to bring the total in China’s capital to 106.

Infections in India passed the 330,000 mark and officials fear the coming monsoon season which traditionally brings outbreaks of dengue fever and malaria every year. As for the United States, all 50 states have started relaxing restrictions and 21 reported increasing cases – led by Alabama, Oregon, and South Carolina.

The truth is there is still so much that is unknown about the COVID-19 virus. Countries in the temperate regions like the US and Europe fear that the coming cold weather may see a surge in infections. The US has always had a rise in flu cases – another viral disease – in winter every year.

Meanwhile, a team of experts from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine reported on its analysis on illnesses around the world and said that of the 20,000 people killed globally in its survey on COVID-19, more than 20 percent were severely affected because they had other health problems, including heart disease and obesity. The study also found that older people are in greater danger of getting seriously unwell from the virus.

In the wake of these new findings, which may have affected President Duterte’s decision to maintain the restrictions in Metro Manila and some other areas in the country, it may indeed be best to slow down the lifting of restrictions that will allow an early return to activities that help spread the virus.

Another two weeks of the GCQ should further improve the health situation in Metro Manila.