Doctors' group maintains: Lockdowns not the solution to this pandemic

A doctors' group maintained that lockdowns are not the solution to the pandemic and called on the national government to "create an environment that will allow us to live with the virus."

LOCKDOWN. Barangay tanods in Pasay City barricade a street in an area placed under a ‘special concerned lockdown’ after some residents got infected with COVID-19. (ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a statement, the Philippine Society of General Internal Medicine (PSGIM) said "lockdowns just buy time."

"We believe that lockdowns are not the solution to this pandemic. They just buy us time. Rather than discuss when a lockdown should be imposed, let's instead discuss how we can safely open the economy," the group said.

"Lightening quarantine measures at the peak of our worst surge is not the way to do this. We need to create an environment that will allow us to live with the virus -- where workplace safety is enforced, transport safety is assured, the public is educated on government plants, and healthcare is assured for those in need. This can only be achieved through cooperation and proper coordination," it added.

PSGIM also expressed support for Philippine College of Physicians President Dr. Maricar Limpin after Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque berated Limpin and other doctors who were calling for another two-week enhanced community quarantine declaration for Metro Manila.

The group said the data being presented to the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) "may not adequately reflect the situation on the ground," stressing that the healthcare system is "overwhelmed and nearing its breaking point."

"At this point, our colleagues begged the IATF to reconsider their plan of shifting to . The number of cases at this time is on the rise and logic dictates that a stricter ECQ would be the preferred response. The plea was stated in the form of a request," it continued.

PSGIM also belied Roque's accusation that medical workers "have never said anything good about the government response."

"We believe that this is the farthest from the truth. We supported the government's preventive measures such as their MASK, HUGAS, IWAS campaign and augmented them with our own APAT DAPAT advisory. We applauded and supported the government's vaccination drive and defended it against fake news pundits. We recognized government's effort to improve active transport and provide safe mobility for our frontliners. We appreciated the DTI's recognition of the value of proper ventilation in the workplace," the doctors' group underscored.

PSGIM added that they also worked endlessly with many departments and local government units to find ways to improve the pandemic response.

"At no point did our colleagues accuse government of being heartless and insensitive to the plights of the people. Neither did claim that they are the only experts in the field. They were there to offer suggestions, and possibly, solutions that could alleviate the situation. They were not there to pick a fight or assign blame. It is unfortunate that their intentions were misrepresented by the Presidential spokesperson secretary response."