ECQ or GCQ? It’s our choice

"We just need some discipline."

I believe it will make a lot of difference if we, Metro Manila residents, showed more discipline under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) with one week to go. 

I agree with Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, commander of Joint Task Force COVID Shield who yesterday said the lack of cooperation from many of our fellow Filipinos who go out for non-essential activities defeats the purpose of the MECQ.   

Reports have it that Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel manning the quarantine control checkpoints have encountered not quite a few motorists who claim to be Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APOR) but are obviously out on non-essential travel.

Such abuses have often resulted in heated verbal confrontations between the PNP personnel and the supposed APORs.

“The main and only reason behind the exemption from community quarantine is for APOR to go to their places of work because their jobs is essential in providing basic goods and services to our people under community quarantine, and for them to go back to their homes,” Eleazar pointed out.

For this reason, Eleazar has directed policemen manning the checkpoints to scrutinize the IDs and other documents being presented by the essential workers, particularly the home address and place of work, to determine whether or not the travel is essential. 

Note that the National Capital Region and nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal were placed under the stricter MECQ from GCQ on the petition for reprieve from healthcare groups who are overwhelmed by the mounting cases of COVID-19 cases at the hospitals.

We should not in any way belittle the plea of the health workers for “timeout.”

The MECQ lasts until August 18th but whether it will be upgraded to ECQ or downgraded to GCQ is all up to us.

The numbers on the COVID-19 incidence are as daunting as they are, but it is important for us to acknowledge that we have a lot to do with the continued increase in the confirmed cases of infection. 

We can understand why staying at home is so difficult for those are trying to make a living like peddling some street food to snag a few pesos for one’s own family’s sustenance.

Still, not quite a few of our kababayans, particularly in Metro Manila, are simply being pasaway out on a “gimmick.”

They could not care less about “healing as one nation” and they go about with their own business.

True, the 59,970 active cases of COVID-19 are only 46.16 percent of the total confirmed cases reported in the country as of Sunday August 9, 2020.

The death toll of 2,270 is a nil 1.75 percent of the total confirmed cases. 

It is noteworthy that the number of COVID-19 patient recoveries has reached 67,673, which is an impressive 52 percent of the total cases.

According to the Department of Health, 91.2 percent of active cases are “mild cases.”

While Metro Manila’s 69,434 cases account for 53.42 percent of the country’s total cases, the number of cases is still less than one percent of its 13 million population.

At least 35,123 recovered in Metro Manila, 50.58 percent of its total cases so far.

These burgeoning numbers of recoveries very clearly mean that COVID-19 is after all a curable or treatable disease despite the absence of the all-important vaccine to prevent it. 

I hope the few good men in President Duterte’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases would realize this and proceed to beef up treatment facilities.

So, despite the record spikes in COVID-19 infections, posting 6,352 new cases in one day last August 4, the country’s public health crisis will not turn into a real-life “Walking Dead” scenario any time soon.

But, with the prospect of extended MECQ or upgrade to the strictest ECQ, we can expect to see more and more impoverished Filipinos scavenging for food in the dumps.

We must remember, too, that with the onset of the rainy season, there are other infectious diseases that threaten public health, particularly that of the children.

At least 402,694 dengue cases, including 1,502 deaths, were recorded as of November 2019 and the DOH never suggested a lockdown may be because dengue is transmitted through mosquito bites from an infected person to another.

As of June this year, at least 52,601 dengue cases, including 190 deaths, have been recorded. This can only aggravate the  COVID-19 crisis at the hospitals.

Unfortunately, you cannot tell the mosquitoes to avoid getting infected themselves by observing hygiene and preventive health measures, like consistent handwashing.

You can’t tell mosquitoes to wear face masks or face shield and observe social distancing.

We can all do these with a little discipline.

Topics: Erwin Tulfo , Metro Manila , Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine , MECQ , Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar , ECQ , GCQ , COVID-19
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