MANILA (UPDATE) - A lawmaker on Monday proposed "household lockdowns" following a surge in COVID-19 cases that pushed many hospitals further to their limits.
"Instead of closing down entire streets or entire barangays, what we can consider is to do the lockdown at the most granular level, which is the household," Marikina City 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo told ANC's Matters of Fact".
A family should be barred from leaving the house if a household member tested positive for the virus, Quimbo said.
The coronavirus patient should isolate at a quarantine facility while family members should be presumed to have COVID-19, she added.
By implementing household lockdowns, local government units will be able to properly monitor the COVID-19 cases while "the economy outside these households can continue running," the lawmaker said.
She said the national government needs to recalibrate its approach to the crisis as the country posted record high numbers of coronavirus infections 1 year into the pandemic.
"The biggest dilemma that we face, and we hear this often, is that we have to choose health over economic recovery. What I think is we shouldn’t be choosing. I think we should look for ways so that we can actually achieve both health and economic recovery objectives at the same time," she added.
Courtesy of DOH
In the interview, Quimbo said she was "frustrated" with the Department of Health's reporting of COVID-19 situation in the country.
"As you know in medicine, if you are unable to diagnose properly, you can't treat your patient properly. So, I think the first step really is diagnosis, more or less accurate reports. So, we have an honest assessment of the situation," she said.
In response to Quimbo's remark, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the agency acknowledges various concerns from different stakeholders over their response to the crisis.
"We acknowledged. Of course, 'yong mga concerns na ganito ay bukas naman tayo para tanggapin at tingnan natin kung talaga bang nagkaroon tayo ng ganitong pagkukulang or weaknesses in the system," she said in a press briefing.
(We acknowledged. Of course, we are open to these concerns and we'll look into the shortcomings and weaknesses in the system.)
Vergeire said they lost many contact tracers after a gap in the funding of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
She also noted that local government units are "burdened" with many responsibilities.
"They do contact tracing, they do vaccination, they do a lot of things. So, hindi nila masyadong nae-exhaust 'yong lahat na dapat i-trace na (they weren't able to exhaust all they need to trace) contacts for a specific individual," she added.
Vergeire said the government had implemented the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE), a protocol that will begin active case finding through close coordination between DOH representatives and communities across the country.
As of Sunday, the Philippines recorded over 795,051 coronavirus infections, of which 646,100 recovered while 13,425 died. The tally includes 135,526 active cases or patients deemed infectious.
The national government extended until April 11 the enhanced community quarantine, the country's strictest lockdown measure in 4 levels, in Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal amid spike in coronavirus cases.