The country is now transitioning from ECQ to a somewhat less restrictive lockdown which is MECQ/GCQ. As it turns out, Filipinos must have missed the outside world and decided to flock the malls. With the rising cases of the coronavirus pandemic constantly reminded everyone, it’s amusing to think that a lot has not taken the scare seriously.
Yes, the economy has to bounce back but to what cost? We are all itching to go back to our normal lives especially that the resources are scarce. But is it a gamble to do it now that we haven’t flattened the curve yet? With no mass testing on sight, the restrictive lockdown has proven to be ineffective.
Metro Manila is the epicenter of the outbreak in the country and is also the center of commerce. But how many lives are we willing to risk just to reopen the economy? Most are aching to go back since the financial support from the government wasn’t enough and people have to earn a living. That’s the dilemma that most of us are facing, but acquiring the disease can also be equally dreadful as it may not only make you go bankrupt, it can also cost your life and the people you love.
What should be done?
Mass testing and contact tracing are the only ways to stop the virus and it’s long overdue. According to WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “find, isolate, test, and treat every case, to break the chains of transmission. Every case we find and treat limits the expansion of the disease.” Until now, with all the public’s clamor to do just that, DOH must have fallen into deaf ears. Testing, contact tracing, and quarantining people with symptoms is crucial.
How can we expect to identify and isolate cases if mass testing has not been done yet? Why hasn’t the government allocated funds yet to procure COVID-19 testing kits for mass testing? Without being tested, if you have no symptoms, you’ll have no clue that you’re infecting the elders and your immuno-compromised loved ones, the most vulnerable population.
This scenario can be devastating once we try to go back to normal as the 2nd wave of the disease can debilitate the entire healthcare system. We’re about to loosen the restriction and most Filipinos think that they are somewhat freed. But the potential for a resurgence or second wave is not next to impossibility. This is not to create fear but the reality that we need to confront. With the high levels of anxiety hounding us, it’s so easy to feel powerless. This must be the most challenging time that we are facing as a nation.
With people trying to let their guard down and with no vaccine, a surge of people infected can suddenly spike. We hope that the government focuses on what should be prioritized now, which is to address how can this be resolved which should be medical and not military interventions. Conventional wisdom says that without these initiatives, all measures taken will go down the drain. As for now, we should heed the government to set aside politicking and show what true leadership means before its too late.
Arthur Tolentino is a creative who has diverse interests from creative writing to hairstyling and pageant coaching. Being passionate that he is, he loves pop culture and loves to talk about anything and everything under the sun.