As possible ECQ lifting looms, DILG chief says PH must avoid 2nd COVID-19 wave


Posted at May 02 2020 09:45 PM

MANILA--Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Saturday said the public must continue to follow COVID-19 policies and the new normal guidelines when the lockdown in the Philippines is lifted to avoid a second wave of the deadly disease.

Año said in an interview with radio DZMM that how people will behave in public is an important factor to decide if the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and general community quarantine (GCQ) implemented in parts throughout the country will be lifted, as it plays a big role in curbing the fast-spreading COVID-19.

"Ready na ba 'yung mga tao sa bagong normal? Katulad ng nangyari sa Singapore, they thought that successful na sila, pero hindi pala ready 'yung mga tao nila doon," Año said.

Singapore in late April logged a record daily jump of more than 1,400 coronavirus cases, with almost all new infections linked to dormitories housing foreign laborers.

The city-state was initially successful in keeping its outbreak in check with a strict regime of testing and contact-tracing, but is now facing a fast-moving second wave. 

"Nu'ng dumating 'yung mga expats nila, ay nag-celebrate na sila. Ta's du'n sa mga condo nila, talagang dikit-dikit, so biglang nagkaroon ng wave, ng surge, at biglang taas nila," Año said.

"Sa atin, ang tanong . . . pwede na kaya ang instinct at disiplina at behavior ng mga kababayan natin?"

Año said avoiding a second wave of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, as it lifted the ECQ and GCQ in its provinces and cities relies largely on the discipline of its citizens.

"Kapag ba tinanggal natin ang ECQ at GCQ, 'yung mga kababayan natin, kapag sasakay ng jeep, hindi siya makikipag-agawan, pipila siya dun sa mahabang pila ng maraming tao?" he said.

"Dapat kasi 'yun na ang pumasok sa isipan natin ano, ang responsibilidad ay nasa indibidwal. Hindi actually nasa gobyerno o nasa community, nasa indibidwal 'yan. Nasa'yo 'yan kung gusto mo mahawa o hindi."

The official said that policies to address the spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines are telling that Filipinos should be used to this kind of new normal, such as regularly wearing face masks and observing physical distancing, until a vaccine for the disease is found.

"Sabi nga na there's only one objective for 2020 -- stay alive," he said.

The country earlier in the day logged 156 new COVID-19 infections, bringing its total number of cases to 8,928.

Of the total, 603 died while 1,124 others recovered, the health department said.