Año urges public to observe health protocols to prevent Covid surge

With parts of the country now under Alert Level 1, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) urged the public on Wednesday, March 9, to strictly abide by the Covid-19 minimum public health standards (MPHS) to avert the possible surge of the virus.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año issued the call after the OCTA Research team warned of a possible “uptick in (Covid-19) cases if health protocols are disregarded.’’

Año warned that the Covid-19 pandemic is far from over and the downgrade shift to Alert Level 1 from March 1-15, 2022 “is not an excuse for the people to ignore the MPHS (minimum public health safety).’’

‘We must protect each other by following the health protocols in place to ensure that surges will not happen,’’ Año said.

“Let us not get carried away by the easing of Covid-19 restrictions to Alert Level 1. If we want to stay under Alert Level 1, ipagpatuloy natin ang pagsunod sa MPHS (continue to follow the MPHS) because this is how we contribute to further decrease coronavirus infections in our country,’’ he added.

He insisted that the public should never be complacent despite a lower restriction level for factors such as waning immunity, the election period and public's non-adherence to MPHS may cause the uptick of cases.

“We continue to remind the public, let us continue to adhere to the MPHS. The easing to Alert Level 1 is to help the economy but we must wear face mask, sumunod tayo sa MPHS. Kapag mag-aattend tayo ng campaign rallies dapat vaccinated and sundin natin ang mga health protocol (let us observe the MPHS. We should be vaccinated and follow health protocols when attending campaign rallies),’’ Año maintained.

The Department of Health (DOH) specifically emphasized that among the MPHS that must be exercised by the public are wearing of face masks, especially in public and enclosed places; washing and sanitizing hands; referring to factual information from legitimate sources and taking advantage of free vaccines against Covid-19 which are not difficult to follow.

Prof.Guido David, of the OCTA Research, said the public’s non-compliance to the MPHS may lead to another surge as what was seen in other countries.

“May mga iba't ibang patterns sa surges at may countries, lalo na yung hindi sumusunod sa minimum health protocols ang naka-experience nito (There are various patterns to the surges that may continue, this was experienced especially in places where the minimum health protocols were disregarded),’’ David noted.

The DILG chief pointed out that the public's compliance with the MPHS is critical in a bid to lower Covid-19 transmission in the country stressing that “everyone’s discipline in abiding by the health protocols can be a step towards avoiding the current surge that is sweeping Hong Kong.’’

Reports disclosed that the Covid-19 surge in Hong Kong forced some public hospitals to place patient beds outside their premises with the transport system and supermarkets having their services cut.

Año, likewise asked the local government units (LGUs) to ensure that the MPHS are consistently enforced in their jurisdictions even amid the lower Covid-19 restrictions.

“We call on our LGUs to still be on top of the implementation of MPHS even in the barangays. Huwag po nating hayaang masanay ang ating mga kababayan na hindi sumusunod sa ating mga health protocol kahit na malaking bilang na ng ating populasyon ang bakunado (Let us not allow the public to get used to disregarding health protocols even if a large number of the population are vaccinated),’’ he insisted.

As of Feb. 28, the DILG said that 63.3 million Filipinos are already fully vaccinated against Covid-19 with more than 10.2 million receiving their booster shots and 61.6 million others getting their initial doses. (Chito A. Chavez)