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On Saturday morning, medical professionals held a press conference and called for Mega Manila to be placed back in ECQ in order to have time in refining their pandemic control strategies.
Medical frontliners appealed for Mega Manila, which is comprised of the National Capital Region, Region III (Central Luzon), and Region IV-A (Calabarzon), to be placed back in enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) for them to reorganize their existing protocols when it comes to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte announced the new community quarantine measures, wherein he said that Metro Manila will retain its status under general community quarantine, together with other areas such as Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and even Cebu City.
Members of the Philippine College of held a press conference on Saturday, wherein around 40 medical societies called out to the president, COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr., and DOH Secretary Francisco Duque, declaring that the country’s healthcare system is close to being exhausted, having reached its maximum capacity, and that it needs a timeout with the help of more stringent quarantine measures.
Philippine Medical Association President Jose Santiago cited from the letter: “The medical community appeals for a return to enhanced community quarantine in Mega Manila from August 1 to 15 to recalibrate strategies against COVID-19.”
“Dear President Duterte, healthcare workers are united in sounding off a distress signal to the nation that our healthcare system has been overwhelmed,” the letter read.
Furthermore, the medical professionals wrote that they propose the ECQ to be used as a timeout to refine their pandemic control strategies addressing the urgent conditions such as ‘hospital workforce efficiency, failure of case finding and isolation, failure of contact tracing and quarantine, transportation safety, workplace safety, public compliance with self-protection, [and] social amelioration.’
The community also petitioned to the administration to reconsider the reopening of businesses like fitness centers, gyms, internet cafes, drive-in cinemas, as well as tutorial and testing centers, which was earlier approved by DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.
They also said that the healthcare workers should not bear the burden of deciding who lives and who dies.
“The health sector cannot hold the line for much longer. Our healthcare workers should not bear the burden of deciding who lives and who dies. If the health system collapses, it is ultimately our poor who are the most compromised. In the end, winning the war against COVID 19 relies heavily on being able to keep our health system capacitated to address the needs of all Filipinos. We hope that our government heeds this plea,” the letter concluded.