'Dangerous': Infectious disease expert against call for lifting of lockdowns


Posted at Sep 23 2020 09:33 AM | Updated as of Sep 23 2020 11:16 AM

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MANILA - An infectious disease expert warned Wednesday against calls for the lifting of COVID-19 lockdowns across the country as they urged the public to take preventive health measures.

The Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC-PH) last week launched the #FlattenTheFear campaign, which urges government to end lockdowns and promote intake of proper nutrition to boost one's immune system.

Lifting of virus restrictions should only be implemented once there is a "significant drop" in COVID-19 cases, said Dr. Rontgene Solante, head of adult infectious disease at the San Lazaro Hospital.

"It’s really dangerous to look at it that when you lift the lockdown and take vitamins, prophylaxis...you have that false belief that when you're taking these drugs you'll have less harm against the virus," he told ANC.

"It's very dangerous. Premature lifting of the lockdown and taking the prophylaxis, you are facing 2 very dangerous interventions here that has not been proven at this point when our cases are still ongoing."

There is "nothing wrong" with taking vitamins and getting exercise to boost one's immune system, Solante added.

"But again you have to maximize and keep the protocol, wear your face mask, face shield, and keep distance," he said.

Solante also said hydroxychloroquine has not been proven effective both as treatment or prophylaxis (preventive measure) against COVID-19, contrary to the doctors' group recommendation.

"Studies were done including the use of this as prophylaxis and they found this drug has no role in this area of treatment, both as prophylaxis and treatment," he said.

Solante also denied that there was an "exaggeration" in disseminating information about COVID-19.

"The deaths alone and the number of severe, critical that are hospitalized, I don't think that’s a situation you’ll say there’s an exaggeration," he said.

"People are dying, suffering and you will say there's an exaggeration of COVID-19. I’m glad to take them and tour them to our hospital and see these severe, critical people who are suffering with COVID-19."

The Philippines as of Tuesday reported 291,789 cases of COVID-19, with 5,049 deaths and 230,643 recoveries.