Now is the time for Metro Manila to go back to GCQ and learn to live with the coronavirus — medical expert

Published August 14, 2020, 10:19 AM

by Noreen Jazul

A medical expert believes it is now time for Metro Manila to go back to the less restrictive general community quarantine (GCQ) and learn to live in the presence of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

A resident rides her bicycle past armed soldiers along a street in Navotas in suburban Manila on July 16, 2020, after the local government reimposed a lockdown in the city due to increased COVID-19 infections. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Pwede naman talagang mag sama ang kalusugan at tsaka kabuhayan, para medyo ma-open na rin natin ang economy, dahil marami sa ating mga kababayan ang talagang nagkaka problema na pagdating sa pagpapakain ng pamilya So I think it is now time for us to go back [to GCQ] (Health and livelihood can go together. We need to slowly re-open the economy because many are already struggling to feed their families. So I think it is now time for us to go back [to GCQ]),” Dr. Maricar Limpin, Vice President of the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP), told DZMM Teleradyo on Friday.

Limpin emphasized that once Metro Manila and other nearby provinces revert back to GCQ, Filipinos must bear in mind their responsibility to comply with health protocols.

She also said that the government, for its part, must strictly implement the protocols for better compliance of the public.

Two-week timeout enough

The PCP vice president said the two-week timeout sought by her organization for health workers has given them the chance to recalibrate their plan on how to control the pandemic.

Limpin said the surge in COVID-19 cases was a reflection that the previous measures implemented were not effective.

“Therefore, we need to look back, and tingnan kung ano ba ang pagkakamali natin, ano yung dapat natin ma improve (and look at where we went wrong, and in what areas we should improve),” she said.

“At least, for now, alam na namin na (we know) there are already measures that are being put into place on how we can effectively control this pandemic,” she added.

Limpin said the medical community has also recommended several programs to curb the pandemic like “massive information dissemination” about the virus, stating that the public needs to understand that the norm is different now.

The PCP vice president said they also recommended improving data reporting and data gathering process.

Resurgence of cases

Limpin said there is still the possibility of a resurgence of COVID-19 cases if Metro Manila reverts back to GCQ, but emphasized that the public also needs to be “optimistic.”

“Nag uusap-usap na kami ng gobyerno (We are already in talks with the government). We are asking the help and cooperation ng bawat Pilipino (of every Filipino),” she said.

The pulmonologist also said that a “sudden drop” in COVID-19 cases cannot be expected in the next few days.

“What we are seeing now is an effect of the spread of infection from two weeks ago, ‘yung time na di pa tayo nalalagay sa MECQ (during the time when we were still not under MECQ),” she said.

“Yung (The) effect ng (of) MECQ may actually be seen, two, three weeks [from now], di siya agad agad (it won’t reflect right away),” she said.