Palace: COVID-19 cases may spike if mall-goers spurn rules


Posted at May 18 2020 02:04 PM | Updated as of May 18 2020 02:16 PM

Palace: COVID-19 cases may spike if mall-goers spurn rules 1
Shopping mall employees wearing protective equipment against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) clean the handrails of escalators in a shopping mall, which has reopened after two months as the lockdown restrictions ease, in Quezon City, May 17, 2020. Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

MANILA — Novel coronavirus cases might spike and overstretch Philippine resources if mall-goers continue to defy safety rules, Malacañang warned Monday. 

Shopping mall operators should ensure there is only one person for every 2 square meters and that their patrons wear masks, said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.

"Nand'yan pa rin ang virus. Habang wala pong bakuna, habang wala pang gamot, hindi pa rin po tayo ligtas sa COVID-19," Roque said in a press briefing.

(The virus is still there. While there is no vaccine yet, while there is no cure, we are not yet sage from COVID-19.) 

"Kung magmamatigas ang marami sa atin, marami po talaga ang magkakaroon ng COVID-19 at tutulad po tayo sa ibang bansa kung saan tumaas ang kaso ng COVID-19 pagkatapos i-relax ang mga restrictions at ang mga tao'y hindi na sumusunod sa mga itinakdang health standards," he added. 

(If many of us continue to disobey, more people will catch COVID-19, and we'll be like other countries where COVID-19 cases spiked after restrictions were eased and people no longer followed health standards.) 

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People thronged shopping centers over the weekend as the government started easing a 2-month long lockdown in Metro Manila and urban centers to stop the economy from shrinking.

Photos of crowded corridors, a violation of physical distancing protocols, went viral on social media and caused alarm. Mall operators have called on the public to observe new safety rules. 
"Sa mga malls po na hindi sumusunod sa social distancing at crowd control, madali lang po iyan -- ipasasara kayo muli," said Roque. 

(Malls that do not follow social distancing rules and crowd control, it's easy -- you will be closed again.) 

The Philippines has logged 12,513 COVID-19 cases, as of May 17, of which, 2,635 patients have recovered while 824 have died.

As of Saturday, May 16, the country has 13,457 hospital beds allotted for COVID-19 cases, 4,964 of which are occupied, according to the Department of Health. It also has 40,497 beds in temporary isolation facilities, and 2,908 in "Heal as One" centers.

If the "doubling time" for COVID-19 cases shortens to 2 days, the country will run out of beds for patients in a week or 2, Roque said. 

"Sa kalye na po kayo ilalagay," he told potential patients. 

(You'd have to stay in streets.) 

The Philippines loosened its lockdown in the same week that its COVID-19 tally breached the 12,000-mark