Nalzaro: Cases rise as lockdown relaxed


I AM afraid that what happened to some local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila and its nearby provinces whose quarantine status was reverted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) might happen here. President Rodrigo Duterte, upon the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), reverted the quarantine status effective Aug. 4 until Aug. 18 of the National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal from general community quarantine (GCQ) to MECQ.

It is a stricter measure under MECQ. It means a strict stay-at-home policy; allowing only a gathering of five persons; no face-to-face classes allowed; skeletal force and work from home is encouraged; no public transport allowed, including LRT and MRT; limited outdoor activities and no bars and restaurants are allowed to open. Restaurants can open only for delivery and takeout. Practically, businesses are closed.

The move of the President and the IATF was in response to the call of medical frontliners to place Mega Manila under a stricter quarantine status to reconfigure strategies in dealing with Covid-19.

Since these areas were placed under GCQ with a more relaxed quarantine status, coronavirus positive cases increased tremendously.

It is always expected as countries/places that shifted to a more relaxed environment and quarantine status, where people are free to roam around and go back to their normal lives, experienced a surge in community transmission.

Ten countries currently facing serious increases in coronavirus infections are among those nations with less stringent approaches to managing their outbreaks. A University of Oxford study identified that 10 of the 45 most badly affected countries are also among those rated as having a “relaxed response” to the pandemic, underlining the mitigating impact of effective government public health policies.

The study said that these countries include the United States, which is experiencing its largest increase in coronavirus cases since April; followed by Iran, Germany and Switzerland. Each of these countries faces the prospect of a second wave of infection with lower stringency in its pandemic response, allowing week on week cases to crop up.

“Of the worst-hit countries still to be facing stringent lockdowns, nine are reporting rising numbers of cases while three are reporting that the curve is flattening. Experts warn of the risk of a second wave of coronavirus with the World Health Organization (WHO) reporting a record increase in global cases. But as countries face the harsh economic realities of lockdown, many are choosing to reopen their economies.”

There is a great possibility that what happened in the NCR will also happen here. We will observe it after Aug. 15 when our GCQ status expires. If we can flatten the curve and reduce coronavirus cases, then better. But if not, then we will prepare for worse as we will impose stricter measures again.


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