WHO says Filipinos should practice social distancing in communities, homes

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 24 2020 01:58 PM

Markings are put at a drug store in San Mateo to implement social distancing on March 16, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The World Health Organization on Tuesday lauded the Philippine government for its efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by imposing a lockdown.

“For that, we congratulate the government of the Philippines for the enhanced community quarantine,” said Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO representative to the Philippines, during the Laging Handa briefing at Malacanang.

“That is effectively buying time,” he said, explaining that the quarantine can help slow down the outbreak and give the health system enough time to improve its patient management.

However, he said the “enhanced community quarantine needs to be complemented by physical distancing in our homes and in our communities.”

“The government is doing what it’s doing, it is now the responsibility of everyone of us to maintain the physical distance,” he said.

Abeyasinghe emphasized the importance of protecting “the elderly, the people who have underlying health conditions like diabetes and asthma.”

“Because we know if they become sick the outcomes are going to be less favorable,” he explained.

There has been reports and posts on social media of some people violating social distancing rules by continuing to congregate in their communities.

“We need to make every effort as individuals as families to protect the vulnerable during this phase,” the WHO official said.

The WHO also called on the private sector to help the government in supplying personal protective equipment to health workers.

As of Tuesday morning, there has been 501 COVID-19 cases in the Philippines. Of that number, 19 have recovered and 33 have died.