‘No sense of urgency’ in PH COVID-19 response, lawmaker says

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 30)— The country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic seems to lack a sense of urgency, Senator Nancy Binay said Thursday as she cited the “proactive” approaches of neighboring nations to contain the virus.

Speaking to CNN Philippines, Binay expressed alarm over the continued rise in COVID-19 infections in the country, noting some of our Asian neighbors have been faring better during the health crisis.

“When they opened up, Hong Kong was able to flatten their curve… Sa atin, baliktad ‘di ba? Kung kailan pataas nang pataas ‘yung bilang, pabukas tayo nang pabukas sa ating ekonomiya,” Binay said in an interview with The Source.

Apart from Hong Kong, Binay also cited the policy of Vietnam, particularly when its government moved to evacuate tourists from popular resort city Da Nang after three residents tested positive for coronavirus.

“So kumbaga very proactive ‘yung approach nila, eh tayo parang walang ganoong sense of urgency… parang you don’t see that sense of urgency, you don’t feel that need to do something on how we can fight this problem,” the senator said, adding it may be good for the government to pattern measures with the best practices of other model countries.

[Translation: When they opened up (economy), Hong Kong was able to flatten their curve. But here it’s the opposite. The higher cases we record, the more we open up our economy. In other words, their approach is proactive, but here, it’s like we don’t have a sense of urgency.]

Binay added officials can also look into further strengthening information dissemination during this time, in a bid to reach and help more sectors regarding the safety protocols.

Tighter quarantine measures

While Metro Manila officials have suggested that the capital region remain under general community quarantine on August 1, Binay personally thinks tighter lockdown measures are needed to contain the spread of the disease.

“At the moment, feeling ko kailangan muna natin maghigpit, hanggang hindi lumuluwag ang mga healthcare facilities natin. Baka we need to scale down a little bit,” Binay said, but later clarified that she was not for a total lockdown.

[Translation: At the moment, I feel like we need to have a stricter quarantine, until our hospital capacity improves. Maybe we need to scale down a little bit.]

Despite the continuous rise in COVID-19 cases, quarantine policies in majority of the country were eased in June in a bid to restart the economy and help crisis-affected workers.

To date, the Philippines has logged over 85,000 cases of the viral disease.