Salceda: Lockdown extensions sans healthcare expansion will strangle PH economy

Published April 3, 2021, 7:47 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda on Saturday, April 3, warned that lockdown extensions without healthcare expansion would gradually asphyxiate the Philippines’ economy.

(Cong. Joey Salceda’s office / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

‘’So, if we will extend the lockdown for another round, we should make the extension worth the pain,’’ Salceda, chairman of the House ways and means committee, said.

His statement comes as the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases announced that it has recommended another week of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) starting April 5.

Salceda, however, said extensions only work with expanded health care capacity and testing.

‘’The very premise of extensions is that they are time bought to prepare a stronger healthcare response. If there will be no changes in our ICU (intensive care unit) capacity, we will merely be deferring new surges of infection for later,’’ he explained. 

‘’We need to consider several force multipliers,’’ he pointed out.

Salceda said the country’s telemedicine facilities should first “be widely accessible.”

Secondly, he said necessary supplies for at-home care, such as oxygen tanks and prescribed therapeutics, must be readily available for door-to-door shipping to those in need.

He added that isolation centers must be equipped so they can be used in lieu of hospital wards for mild and moderate cases. 

‘’My team is monitoring the utilization rates of our isolation centers. The utilization rate of our government-built isolation centers hovers just above 10 percent. Cases are isolation either at home or are in hospitals seeking treatment,’’ Salceda said.

 ‘’We need to consider fully equipping our isolation centers so that they can also already serve as treatment centers for non-severe cases,’’ he appealed.