By Billy Begas
House Committee on Ways and Means chairperson and Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said extending the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) will only work if the health care capacity and testing are expanded.
“The very premise of extensions is that they are time bought to prepare a stronger healthcare response. If there will be no changes in our ICU capacity, we will merely be deferring new surges of infection for later,” said Salceda.
With healthcare expansion, Salceda said lockdown extensions will only “asphyxiate” the economy.
“So, if we will extend the lockdown for another round, we should make the extension worth the pain,” he added.
Salceda also urged the government to use several force multipliers like telemedicine facilities that should be widely available. He said supplies for at-home care should be available and ready for door-to-door shipping to those in need.
“This may include everything from oxygen tanks to prescribed therapeutics.”
He also urged the government to transform isolation centers as hospital wards for mild and moderate cases. Only 10% of the government-built isolation centers are utilized.
“We need to consider fully equipping our isolation centers so that they can also already serve as treatment centers for non-severe cases,” he added.