Amid ‘pandemic fatigue’, DOH hopes health protocols to curb COVID-19 cases

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 14 2020 01:59 PM | Updated as of Oct 14 2020 03:17 PM

Health workers administer COVID-19 swab testing to frontliners and residents at the San Juan Elementary School Gym in San Juan City on May 12, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA— The World Health Organization said recently that Europe is facing a rise in “pandemic fatigue” months into the COVID-19 crisis. 

The Department of Health on Wednesday said this is happening to everyone, and is counting on health protocols to control the COVID-19 spread in the Philippines. 

“We are all experiencing this fatigue — this pandemic fatigue. Alam natin halos lahat ng kababayan gustong gusto nang bumalik sa dati (We know that almost all of our citizens want to return to how it was before),” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing.

“Pero ang lagi nating pinapaalala, hindi na po tayo babalik sa dati. Kaya may tinatawag tayo na new normal,” she added.

(But we always remind that we will never go back to how it was before. That is why we now have the new normal.)

Watch more in iWantTFC

Vergeire said the new normal would ensure that even though the COVID-19 virus exists, “we would still be protected if we are going to comply with these minimum health standards.”

She said living in the new normal involves little sacrifices such as the wearing of face masks and face shields, physical distancing and frequent handwashing.

As the economy gradually reopens, the risk of COVID-19 spread remains, but complying with health standards will help prevent this from happening, Vergeire said. 

The health official also cited how the government has been cautious in slowly opening up sectors to prevent the further spread of the disease.

Earlier this month, the WHO regional director for Europe said the region was seeing rising levels of COVID-19 fatigue. He said it was natural for people to feel apathetic and demotivated and that they estimate that fatigue has now reached 60% in their region, which is also experiencing a second wave of infections.