Robredo ‘okay’ with granular lockdown; recent ECQ 'not effective'

Published September 5, 2021, 12:40 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Although she agrees with the government’s decision to impose granular lockdowns instead of community quarantine in areas with a high number of coronavirus cases, Vice President Leni Robredo highlighted the need for intensified testing, tracing, and isolation.

Vice President Leni Robredo and radioman Ely Saludar (BISErbisyong Leni/Facebook)

“Kung magga-granular lockdown tayo, okay naman iyong granular lockdown pero hindi pwedeng iyong lang. Kung magga-granular lockdown tayo buhusan na natin ng test, buhusan na natin ng trace. Iyong mga nakalockdown buhusan na natin ng ayuda para para maging effective siya (If we are going to do granular lockdown, it’s okay but that’s not all. If we are going to do granular lockdown, let’s have more test and trace. Those in lockdown, let’s pour in cash aid so it will be effective),” she said on her Sunday radio show.

Under granular lockdowns, the local government units (LGUs) will only restrict the movement of residents in a specific street, zone, village, and building where there are high cases of COVID-19.

This is opposed to community quarantine classifications where whole areas are placed under lockdown.

The Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases approved the pilot of granular lockdowns in Metro Manila starting September 8.

READ: PH shifts to granular lockdown starting Sept. 8

Robredo noted that the hard lockdown or enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) last year and April this year had their intended effects on the country because the number of cases slowed down then.

“Pero itong panghuling lockdown hindi umepekto. Nakita natin eh. Hindi siya umepekto kasi hindi natin naramdaman iyong pag-slow down ng (But this last lockdown was not effective. We can see. It was not effective because we did not feel the slowdown in) number of cases,” she said.

“Iyong mga tao kulang ‘yung ayuda. Iyong mga tao talaga magpipilit talaga iyan magtrabaho kasi kulang ang ayuda (The cash aid is not enough. People will really push to work because the cash aid is not enough,” she added.

The vice president pointed out that a lot of things are missing in the government’s pandemic response, particularly in testing, tracing, and isolating.

On Saturday, September 4, the Department of Health’s (DOH) case bulletin showed that the country logged a 28 percent positivity rate when the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends less than 5 percent positivity rate.

READ: DOH reports 20,741 new COVID-19 cases; new record for second highest single-day tally

Robredo said this only shows that the Philippines is not doing enough tests to curb the virus’ transmission. This is despite the highly transmissible and contagious Delta variant being the dominant strain in the country.

“Ang daming hindi detected. Ang problema nang hindi detected kapag hindi mo ‘yan naisolate, naghahawa ‘yan ng iba (A lot of people are undetected. The problem if they are undetected, you cannot isolate them and they will infect others),” she added.

Despite her call for better pandemic response handling, she agrees that businesses should be allowed to operate as long as they “conform to strict standards.”

Robredo earlier said the August surge is real because of the high number of COVID-19 cases her Bayanihan E-Konsulta initiative is handling on a daily basis. Last week, they had to set a 400-per-day cap on online consultation requests because their medical and non-medical volunteers are already overwhelmed.

On Saturday, the Philippines reported 20,741 cases, the second-highest daily tally since the pandemic began. This also marked the second straight day of more than 20,000 cases. That brought the total number of cases in the country to 2.06 million.