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Castelo files ‘Pandemic Preparedness Act of 2020’

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Quezon City Rep. Precious Castelo filed on Monday a bill proposing the crafting of a “national response and preparedness strategy in addressing pandemics and outbreaks like Covid-19.”

Her proposal is contained in House Bill 6650, or the proposed “Pandemic Preparedness Act of 2020.”

“This bill aims to strengthen national response and preparedness in the event of public health emergencies such as the occurrence of pandemics and outbreaks,” Castelo said.

“Proactive instead of reactive measures must be put in place when public health is at stake. It is essential to prepare now to prevent a repeat of this Covid-19 disaster in the future,” she said.

“A wait-and-sea strategy will never be enough when human lives are at risk. Whenever there is an imminent threat to society, it is necessary that the threat is dealt with appropriately at the outset,” she said.

Castelo said the world was not ready for the Covid-19 outbreak despite having killed other coronaviruses in the past.

“What sets the novel coronavirus apart is its high possibility of transmission due to its longer incubation period. Persons with minimal or no symptoms may be able to transmit it, making it difficult to contain,” she added.

She pointed out that because of the Covid-19 outbreak, “Filipinos are facing the defining crisis of their time with no end in sight.”

“Along with the fear of being infected is the uncertainty of whether there is some sort of normalcy that can be established to endure this public health emergency,” she said.

In her. bill, Castelo proposed that the Secretary of Health lead the preparation of a national strategy against pandemics and outbreaks.

The health secretary can enlist the assistance of other government agencies, professional organizations and other private groups and include in his department’s annual proposal funds needed for crafting and implementing such strategy.

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