OCTA calls for return of liquor ban, stricter age restrictions amid COVID-19 surge

Published March 10, 2021, 7:36 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

OCTA research chief Guido David has recommended the reimposition of liquor ban and stricter age restrictions in Metro Manila following a surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the past few weeks.

David issued this appeal as he called for the implementation of proactive measures to prevent the healthcare system from getting overwhelmed like in August 2020.

“Totoo na mas marami tayong beds na available ngayon pero hindi naman ‘yan unlimited ‘yung supply ng beds. So kung pataas nang pataas ‘yung bilang ng kaso, at some point mapupuno din hospital beds natin. (It is true that we have more beds available now but the supply of beds is not unlimited. So if the number of cases increases, and at some point our hospital beds will also be filled),” David said in a Teleradyo interview on Wednesday, March 10.

The OCTA Research Team on March 8 said the reproduction number of COVID-19 in Metro Manila was at 1.66, which is close to the reproduction number in August 2020, when medical workers asked for a two-week “timeout.”

“Ngayon pa lang, before tayo umabot sa critical situation, kailangan unahan na natin. Start na nating pababain ‘yung trend nung cases para ‘di na tayo umabot sa ganung kalagayan na in crisis tayo. (As early as now, before we reach the critical situation, we need to be proactive. We must start lowering the trend in cases so that we do not reach a crisis point),” David said.

He said Metro Manila has seen an increase of 250 percent in the number of COVID-19 cases from a month ago.

“Alarming na talaga. Hindi na ito biro-biro. Kailangan talagang seryosong pagtulungan ito para mapababa ‘yung bilang ng kaso. (It’s really alarming. It’s not a joke anymore. We really need to work together seriously to reduce the number of cases),” David stressed.

He appealed to the public to continue to be vigilant and disciplined in following the minimum public health standards, such as wearing of face mask and face shield, washing of hands regularly, and observing a one-meter physical distancing.

David also suggested local government units to reimpose liquor ban and stricter age restrictions.

“Pwedeng mas mahigpit na GCQ (general community quarantine). Di naman natin kailangang bumalik sa MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine). Hangga’t maaari iiwasan natin ‘yun. Pwede nating bawasan ‘yung capacity ng mga establishments. (We can implement a stricter GCQ. We don’t have to go back to MECQ. We should avoid that as much as possible. We can reduce the capacity of establishments),” he said.

“Suggestions lang ‘yan. Di naman natin sinasabing kailangan nating gawin pero ‘yan ‘yung ibang mga posibleng gawin natin. (Those are just suggestions. We are not saying we need to do them, but those are the other things we can do),” he added.