Senator Juan Edgardo M. Angara said on August 1, representatives of the beleaguered health sector should sit down with the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), Department of Health (DOH), and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to discuss their request that Metro Manila be placed under a strict enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) instead of the benign General Community Quarantine for at least two weeks.
“If the doctors and our medical system are overwhelmed then the whole system and government strategy will surely be affected. It is useful for the IATF, DOH, DILG to sit down with the representatives of the health sector to tackle and address their many concerns— the lack of PPEs (personal protective equipment), the filling up of hospitals, the state of our testing tracing and quarantine systems and how to improve them. These are some of the urgent issues raised. Any return to ECQ must be used for an improved response,’’ he said.
“As they say one step back, two steps forward,’’ he added.
Angara, a COVID-19 survivor, said the health sector’s request should be taken seriously in plotting out the next steps.
As one of the factors for the rise of viral infection appeared to have been contributed by health protocols that are being breached, Senator Ronald dela Rosa said it might be timely to return the lockdown level to ECQ.
“Puwede siguro kung kinakailangan kasi nakita natin halos puno na ang mga ospital, nagrereklamo na. Nung ECQ lunuwag konti at hindi gaanong mabilis ang pagakyat ng numbers baka yan ang solusyon sa ngayon (It could be adopted because we are seeing hospitals being almost full with patients. Things were a little better during the ECQ and the increase in infection was not that fast),’’ Dela Rosa, former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, said.
Senator Richard J. Gordon, president and executive officer of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), said any decision to order a strict lockdown should be studied as there is an economy-versus-health issue involved.
“Yes, life is more important,’’ he said during a radio interview today.
Gordon said the adoption of ECQ, particularly in the Metro Manila area, should be studied carefully as health workers are already tired.
Observers have also stated that the rise of COVID-19 infections could also be attributed to hardheaded persons who refuse to follow health protocols..
Gordon emphasized the need for Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III and the IATF to report within the week the real state of the health of the nation.
Majority in the 24-member Senate have asked Duque to resign for weak leadership and failure to contain the high COVID-19 infection rate that has cost the government hundreds of billions of pesos.
But President Duterte continues to reiterate his trust in Duque.