Briones: Moving on

On the go

I UNDERSTAND why some people are apprehensive about “opening up” Metro Cebu under general community quarantine (GCQ).

After all, the reason the whole country and most of the world were forced to a standstill remains in our midst.

Yes, I’m talking about the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). That highly infectious disease.

I haven’t seen the latest statistics, but I’m pretty sure that it continues to thrive in some areas in Cebu City, which is why some people are anxious.

They don’t want to risk catching the disease. They are holding out until a vaccine or a cure is found. Which may be months or years from now.

But hey, that’s their right. After all, when this health crisis first broke out, authorities made sure the public got scared.

They instilled fear in our minds so we would be compliant. Otherwise, how could they expect millions of people to heed their stay-at-home order?

And so Covid-19 became the new bogeyman.

The young, the old and the people in between were told that they could die if they were exposed. Images on TV didn’t help. Dead bodies being carried out in body bags were all over the place. Experts painted a bleak picture. One American scientist even predicted that millions would die.

But two months on, Covid-19 has claimed less than 1,000 lives in the Philippines, which has a population of more than 100 million. I don’t know how many people have lost their livelihood and have relied on meager government assistance to survive since then.

The government must have realized that this could not go on indefinitely. Let’s face it, we know that it doesn’t have the money to continue its social amelioration program for the poorest of the poor, which leaves out the poorer of the poor, the poor and the so-so poor to fend for themselves.

So the government has placed most of the country under GCQ or modified GCQ, which is one step away from the lifting of all restrictions and returning to the “old” normal, albeit with a few changes.

So what does being under GCQ entail that has prompted some people to post “fake news” on social media?

For one thing, more businesses are now open. Also, some forms of public transportation are allowed to operate. That means more people are out and about and they are mobile. It’s a logistical nightmare if you’re battling to contain a pandemic.

But the government and health authorities know some things they didn’t know when Covid-19 first arrived on our shores. Eight out of 10 persons who test positive are asymptomatic. Of the remaining two, only those with preexisting medical conditions manifest serious symptoms.

I am not underestimating Covid-19, but I believe the government has to move on. I respect those who want to maintain the status quo, but they should also respect the majority who have no choice but to risk their lives and go out and work to put food on their tables.


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