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‘Di na kaya ng mga ospital! ‘Overwhelmed’ medical frontliners push for NCR’s return to ECQ

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The medical community is sounding off the alarm on the burden caused by the continued rise in COVID-19 cases, particularly in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces.

In a petition addressed to Secretary Carlito Galvez and Health Secretary Francisco Duque, various medical associations asked that Metro Manila be placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) again from August 1 to 15 so the government and other stakeholders will have time to recalibrate strategies against the pandemic.

Medical frontliners said many of their colleagues are getting sick and burned out as COVID-19 patients continue to arrive in droves at hospitals.

“We are in a losing battle against COVID-19, and we need to come up with a consolidated plan. Hence, we, as frontliners dedicated to win the battle against COVID-19, call on our government to put Mega Manila back to Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) for a period of two weeks, from August 1 to 15,” they said.

As of Friday (July 31), the Department of Health has recorded 93,354 COVID-19 cases in the country. The National Capital Region (NCR) tops the list of regions with the highest number of cases for July, with 56 percent of cases coming from Metro Manila.

Despite the continued rise in COVID-19 cases, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that Metro Manila will remain under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) from August 1 to 15.

GCQ is a looser form of quarantine than ECQ, which involved restricting the population’s movement, except for essential errands and work.

The medical frontliners suggested that the two-week ECQ in Metro Manila be used to address the deficiency of workforce in hospitals, as well as address problems related to COVID-19 testing, public transportation and workplace safety.

They also urged the Department of Trade and Industry to reconsider the decision to reopen fitness gyms, internet cafes and pet grooming shops starting August 1.

The medical frontliners said placing Metro Manila under ECQ for two weeks and instituting reforms in the government’s response to COVID-19 pandemic “can have far-reaching effects.”

“The health sector cannot hold the line for much longer. Our health care workers should not bear the burden of deciding who lives and who dies. If the health system collapses, it is ultimately the poor that is most affected,” they said.

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