COVID -19 community transmission is at hand if we are not careful. We are expecting the arrival of more returnees, our overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and locally stranded individuals (LSIs). The Balik-Probinsya Program will soon be implemented. Are our mayors and governors ready with proper quarantine facilities?
We learned a lesson from Cebu on how rapid community transmission of the virus is. Their returnees were just subjected to home quarantine according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government secretary. At home, many health protocols were disregarded. The government reminders were just taken for granted. We do not want that what happened in Cebu will also happen in other provinces, including our beloved Negros Occidental.
Our smart and alert mayors in the province could have moved in advance in coordination with Governor Bong Lacson. We are at war with the new virus. Just like in real battle, the mayors are our ground commanders, the generals, the strategists and their leadership defines our victory. Are the mayors ready, or shall we say, more than ready?
The proper quarantine centers could have been prepared already two months ago. We are housing the positive and the suspected individuals, not just athletes who are participating in the provincial meet. It is expected that our quarantine areas have well-organized treatment rooms and isolation facilities. The enemies are not somewhere outside but inside the persons.
The returnees who are positive are not on vacation. They are sick and carriers of the deadly virus possible of contaminating those who take good care of them, and even the people in the community if they are not handled properly by trained health workers.
The local government units should put up quarantine facilities that adhere to the standards of the World Health Organization. This time our mayors cannot afford to be compliant only. They have to showcase the best quarantine facilities in their towns and cities that can accommodate the returnees or the victims of community transmission as the case may be.
Our returnees from the airport and seaport should not be brought home as practiced in the past by some mayors. They should proceed to the quarantine areas after they have been tested. They should stay there until their test results reveal that they are Covid-19-negative. That is the time for the government to send them home with proper pieces of advice from the local task force.
Staying in the proper quarantine area does not mean killing the time. There should be programmed activities prepared by the area manager. Those who have been identified positive should stay physically active through scheduled physical exercises and mental health undertakings. They should be provided a balanced diet and will not be allowed to smoke and take liquor.
In the quarantine facilities, there should be sections for children, pregnant women, senior citizens and those with underlying medical conditions... diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease or hypertension. Personnel manning the quarantine centers are not just watchmen. They should be health educators who can cordially remind the subjects not just to spit or blow their noses anywhere. Contaminated droplets are the best carriers of the virus if touched by other persons.
It is not advisable that each barangay will have its quarantine center just for compliance. Quarantine centers are complicated and sophisticated and should be handled by experts. Barangay captains should know this by heart if they do not want to take the risk. Some officials can play with politics but not with life. Life is not a toy. Make good with your quarantine facilities now... and now is now!
Kindly share this with your friends so that all our good mayors could be reminded before we are surprised by local community transmission. No one wants to have a Covid-19 second wave, not even your mayor.