Editorial: Gearing for an enhanced community quarantine

JUST hearing the phrase "enhanced community quarantine" is enough to stress many people out.

According to the City Government of Davao, when the city is placed under ECQ, residents of the city shall expect the following: there will be no more mass transportation; only a select number of industries in the private sectors will be allowed to continue to work; and government offices that will operate are those that have a focus on disaster, social services, health, and security.

On Tuesday, Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpo said the doctors are telling her that the community quarantine is not enough to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). This developed after it was confirmed that there is now a local transmission in the city.

"Nakita sa atoang mga doctor nga dili enough. Dili gyud enough ang atoang ginabuhat na community quarantine karon (Our doctors saw that placing the entire city under community quarantine is not enough)," Duterte-Carpio said on Tuesday, March 31, via 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.

The mayor has publicly expressed several times that she is hesitant with the implementation of an ECQ, considering the economic impacts it may bring.

The city has resorted to strictly implementing the community quarantine guidelines to ensure that the city will not need to declare an ECQ.

"Sa sugod pa lang, sige nako og handom nga dili ta muabot sa enhanced community quarantine, kanang mapasunod lang nato ang mga tao, mapatuman lang ang mga tao, pero wala. Dili satisfied ang mga doctor sa ilang nakita (From the very start, I was already expecting that we will not reach to the point of imposing an ECQ, for as long we would let the people comply with the strict health mandates. But based on the doctors' observation, they are dissatisfied)," she said.

However, she has yet to issue an official executive order putting the city under ECQ. The mayor said they will give ample time to Dabawenyos to prepare.

In a sense, the city has been slowly conditioning the residents of Davao City. This week alone, the city published on its official Facebook page guidelines on Food and Medicine Passes (FM Pass) and what to expect during an ECQ.

Duterte-Carpio has also regularly urged Dabawenyos to remain calm leading up to the possibility that the ECQ will be declared.

"Paniguruhon nato nga dili sila mag-panic... and maplastar nato on the ground ang mga pangihanglanon nato to implement the ECQ (We need to ensure that the Dabawenyos will not panic... and to prepare all the necessities on the ground before implementing the ECQ)," Duterte-Carpio said.

We have to commend the city for how it is calmly handling the situation right now. Though there is an inkling feeling that the city may implement the ECQ soon, it is good to note that it has already started to condition the residents of the city.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated earlier that among the strategies that will slow down the spread of the disease is through community quarantines like this. Under such strategy, residents are urged to stay at their homes.

With the expected increase of Covid-19 cases in the country, the cases in Davao City may also spike. Hence, we can see ECQ looming in the distance.

Dabawenyos have to remain calm despite all this as panicking will not help much in these times. As the city mayor has yet to release an ECQ, let us take this time to prepare for this.

Do not worry much about the supplies at home since the city has assured that it will be distributing relief packs. It has also assured that supermarkets will remain open. Instead, start preparing yourselves mentally and emotionally. Clearly, ECQ is going to put some stress on many of us.

Once the ECQ is in place, let us hope that the spread of the disease will slow down weeks from now. The only way we can help those in the frontlines is by staying at home and strictly adhering to the guidelines set by the government.


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