Año: Experts warn of wasting initial efforts vs. COVID-19 if enhanced quarantine will be lifted
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Sunday said experts warned them that lifting the enhanced quarantine could null the gains of their initial efforts against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“Balewala lahat itong ginawa natin itong isang buwan na lockdown. Balewala lahat ito kasi balik ka ulit sa zero,” Año said in a radio interview.
Health professionals and data analysts suggested that these gains should be maintained to avoid a relapse which could result to another surge of infection cases.
“Ang sabi nila kapagka ni-lift mo kaagad ‘yung lockdown, masasayang ‘yung ating gains,” Año said.
“Magkakaroon ng relapse, ‘yung tinatawag na second round which we may find it hard to contain ‘yung tinatawag natin na surge kasi hindi pa nga tayo nakarating doon sa tinatawag na surge ng curve,” he added.
According to him, the enhanced community quarantine over the entire Luzon has been effective to control the spread of COVID-19.
Año said the community is still in danger considering that all interventions to control COVID-19 transmission are not yet fully implemented.
“Marami pa diyan nakakalat na mga positive cases na asymptomatic na continuous nagis-spread. Hindi pa natin na-set up nang husto ‘yung mga massive testing natin all around the country. Hindi pa rin naihiwalay nang husto ‘yung ating mga PUMs at PUIs,” he said.
“Nasa danger pa rin ‘yung community para magkaroon ng spread at the same time kailangan ihanda natin ‘yung healthcare facilities,” he added.
With the enhanced community quarantine effective in slowing down the spread of the infection, the government will have more time to prepare the hospitals and equipment needed to respond to COVID-19, Año said.
“So sayang naman ‘yung sinimulan mo na. Kumbaga i-sustain mo na. Kumbaga kung hanggang kaya natin tiisin ay titiisin natin,” he said.
Last week, Año said extending the enhanced community quarantine is not advisable as this measure would adversely affect the economy.
On Sunday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the measures put in place to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 should be maintained as they conduct more testing to have an accurate picture of the situation.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Saturday said the Department of Health (DOH) is eyeing to conduct 8,000 to 10,000 COVID-19 tests by the end of April as well as more testing centers.
Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the national plan against COVID-19, said they are still studying if the enhanced community quarantine will be extended.
According to him, there is a big possibility of extending the enhanced community quarantine, which was originally set to end on April 14, as they acknowledged that the measure really helped in controlling the spread of COVID-19.
The enhanced community quarantine in the entire Luzon took effect on March 17. President Rodrigo Duterte said the quarantine period would last until April 14.
The DOH said as of Saturday, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country reached 3,094 as more tests are being done. The death toll rose to 144 while the number of recoveries increased to 57. —Courtesy of Joviland Rita/KG, GMA News