‘Time Out’: Medical community appeals for 2-week ECQ in Mega Manila

Medical frontliners are now appealing to President Rodrigo Duterte to put back the entire Metro Manila under the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) from August 1-15, 2020.

In a letter by Philippine College of Physicians President Mario Panaligan to Duterte through Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. of the National Task Force on COVID-19 and Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, the group of physicians said that the 2-week ‘time out’ is needed to recalibrate strategies against the spread of the fatal disease.

The group said that their call is supported by more than 80 medical societies around the country.

“Healthcare workers are united in sounding off a distress signal to the nation – our healthcare system has been overwhelmed,” the letter reads.

The medical frontliners noted the consistent rise in the number of infections which resulted to the closure of two of the largest hospitals in Manila.

“The Local Government of Manila announced the temporary closure of the two of their largest government hospitals, the Ospital ng Maynila and the Dr. Fabella Memorial Hospital citing increasing number of their hospital workers confirmed to be COVID positive and their need to decongest due to the overwhelming number of patients being admitted,” Panaligan said.

Also, healthcare workers are falling sick and burnt out due to “seemingly endless number of patients trooping to our hospitals for emergency care and admission.”

Medical frontliners call for ECQ
Medical frontliners call for ECQ

The group cited the following urgent problems that need attention:

  • Hospital workforce deficiency
  • Failure of case finding and isolation
  • Failure of contact tracing and quarantine
  • Transportation safety
  • Workplace safety
  • Public compliance with self-protection
  • Social amelioration

“We are waging a losing battle against COVID-19, and we need to draw up a consolidated, definitive plan of action,” Panaligan said.

“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 our poor who are most compromised,” he added.

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