The public was urged on Monday, August 3, to voluntarily impose upon themselves an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) mindset.
Dr. Tony Leachon, former adviser to the National Task Force (NTF) fighting the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), made the appeal due to the alarming rise in the cases of persons with COVID-19.
“At hindi biro-biro merong tinatala araw-araw na 5,000 cases. Ngayon po ang total 103,000 cases at hindi pa natin napa-flatten yung curve at hindi pa dumating yung bakuna (It’s no joke to record 5,000 cases everyday. At the moment, there are total of 103,000 cases, the curve has not been flattened, and there is no vaccine yet),” he said in an interview with CNN Philippines.
“Ang panawagan ho ng mga doktor stay healthy (Doctors are appealing to the public to stay healthy), voluntary ECQ mindset so that we will not increase the viral transmission and be a burden as well as a problem to the doctors right now who are overwhelmed in the hospital setting,” he added.
Leachon also asked the public to “observe the maximum health standards.”
“Ang kailangan natin gawin (What we need to do) is not really to have mass action and mass gatherings,” he said.
“If you are senior citizens, you don’t go to restaurants and expose yourself particularly those with conditions,” he said.
Leachon also urged the government to re-calibrate its response to the anti-COVID-19 pandemic including getting help from the health community and having a team of medical experts to help the four anti-COVID czars.
“We need to enlist more of the medical community to help the government,” said Leachon who noted that among the designated anti-COVID-19 czars only Treatment czar, Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega, is a physician.
Leachon also urged the government to stop using rapid antibody tests and only use reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in testing for COVID-19.
“Use the gold standard na RT-PCR considering that marami tayong (there are many) false negative and false positives with the rapid antibody test and this may have actually contributed to the rise in local transmission,” he said.
Leachon also welcomed the decision of President Duterte to heed the call of the medical community by declaring a modified ECQ (MECQ) over Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, and Bulacan.
Although the President did not like what the medical community did in publicly demanding for a return to ECQ in Mega Manila, Leachon assured they did not intend it that way.
“It might seem to be some sort of revolution to the eyes of the President but it was not meant that way,” he said.
“The doctors will not actually complain if they are not feeling fatigued and weary. And I think this is the primary reason that they actually present to the President their condition as the father of the country,” Leachon said.
“We expect that the President will be compassionate, sympathetic to the pleas of the people,” he added.