Senator Nancy Binay on Saturday asked the government to a suspension of unnecessary travel of at least two weeks to curb the continuous spike in novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the Philippines.
“Itigil muna natin ang pagpropose na bumyahe at mamasyal (Let’s stop proposing travels and going out). This is not the best time to relax and encourage everyone to go out and travel habang patuloy namang tumataas ang kaso ng COVID sa ating bansa (while COVID-19 cases n our country continue to rise),” Binay said in a statement.
“Time-out’ na muna (Let’s have time out)!” she said.
Last February, the government eased the travel protocols across provinces and cities and removed the mandatory COVID-19 testing and quarantine for local travelers except if they exhibit virus symptoms.
On Saturday, March 20, the Philippines registered a new record in single-day increase in the new COVID-19 cases. From the 7,103 recorded on Friday, March 19, new infections further surged to 7,999, now the highest since last year.
“How can we slow down or manage community transmission when we are now inside a worrisome and critical threshold, pero (but) our officials still promote unnecessary and non-essential travel,” Binay said, expressing concern that more Filipinos will go out and travel during the Holy Week.
“Siguro (Maybe) what we can do individually is to act as if we’re on GCQ (general community quarantine) on a voluntary basis.”
“At sa public and private sectors, mas makakabuti na i-consider na mag-timeout muna tayo ng two weeks until after the Holy Week para na rin mabigyan natin ng panahon ang IATF na mag-reassess, adjust, maghanda at punan ang mga gap para ma-reverse ang tumataas na namang bilang ng mga positibo sa COVID (As for the public and pirvate sectors, maybe it would be better to consider implementing a time out for two weeks so that we can give the Interagency Task Force to reassess, adjust, prepare and fill out the gaps to reverse this increasing cases of COVID-19 positives).”
Binay said “everyone should be onboard and on the same plate in the fight against COVID[-19].”
“There should be consistency in messaging mula sa ating mga leaders at maging sa mga influencers —’di dapat tumitigil sa pagpapaalala at pagpapaliwanag sa mga repercussion ng di pagsunod sa minimum health protocols (from our leaders and even influencers — that they should not stop reminding people of the repercussions of violating minimum health protocols),” Binay said.
“Makikita naman natin sa mga videos at pictures sa news at social media na kahit mga celebrities at influencers eh parang balik na sa normal ang lahat (As we can see on videos and pictures and news and social media that even celebrities and influencers make it seem that everything is back to normal). Varying, irrelevant, and inconsistent messaging create public confusion, and damage whatever gains we have had in the fight against COVID,” she added.
“We have to embrace the new normal and accept the fact that our way of life has already changed,” Binay stressed.
Earlier, the senator called out national leaders who are sending “wrong signals” to the public by trivializing the continued increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, and “conferring assurance that things are slowly becoming normal because the vaccines are already available”.