Philippines

IATF asked to ‘recalibrate, reassess’ COVID-19 response amid another lockdown

MANILA, Philippines — The national government, particularly the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), needs to re-assess its response to the COVID-19 pandemic especially after the reimposed enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila and four provinces, AAMBIS-OWA Rep. Sharon Garin said Monday.

Garin, who formerly served as the chairperson of the House committee on economic affairs, said that while prioritizing the health of the public is important, there should be a balance between the health and economic response of the government to the pandemic.

If there is no balance, Garin said the country’s economy will suffer.

“IATF should recalibrate, the health response should be re-assessed kasi parang, I cannot confidently say na tama yung ginawa (that what we are doing is right) because there’s something wrong there. We’re the highest so far in the region in terms of infection rate,” Garin told reporters in an online interview.

“Our death rate is actually going up. Our infection rate is very very high right now. Tapos ‘yung ating response to the economy, we have constrained transportation. Transportation companies are about to die a natural death. Our stores, retail, hospitality, hotels, tourism, and entertainment, it’s all suffering right now,” she added.

(With our response to the economy, we have constrained transportation.)

The national government once again placed Metro Manila as well as the provinces of Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)—the strictest quarantine level—for one week, from March 29 to April 4, due to recent surges in COVID-19 cases.

“We cannot have people wait for one year. Hindi na rin nila kaya ‘yan so I think we need to reassess what we have done—IATF, DOH. Even economic-wise, kailangan ata pag-isipan ulit kasi not that we did a terrible, terrible job but now we know that it’s not responsive for another surge,” Garin said.

Unlike in the previous ECQ implementation, public transportation will be allowed to operate at a certain capacity and guidelines for which are expected to be issued soon by the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

During the one-week ECQ period, a curfew from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. will be enforced in Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna while mass gatherings, including religious services that were previously allowed under a 10 percent capacity, were prohibited.

KGA

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