Community quarantine to impact daily wage earners: ex-DOH chief Garin

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 13 2020 12:50 PM

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MANILA - A lawmaker on Friday expressed concern over the community quarantine measure that the government ordered to be put in place in its fight to address the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak.

Iloilo 1st District Representative Janette Garin said community quarantine or a lockdown is very effective but said there should be "stringent monitoring and surveillance especially contact tracing of those who have been tested." 

The Philippine government on Thursday quarantined Metro Manila’s 12.8 million people, banned mass gatherings and suspended classes for a month in an unprecedented move to contain the fast-spreading COVID-19, which has infected at least 52 people in the country. 

Travel—whether by land, sea, or domestic air—in and out of the National Capital Region will be prohibited starting Sunday, according to an inter-agency resolution, which declared the highest Code Red Sub-level 2 because of "sustained community transmission."

"There are already patients outside Metro Manila, how do we balance this?" she said.

The former health secretary said the quarantine could impact daily wage earners who may be hard hit by the impact of the lockdown.
 
"We understand the public health concern on this matter. However, the financial impact it will have on those earning their daily wage, especially those working on a daily basis, will be having a hard time," she said.

Garin said flight restrictions will make it difficult to send samples taken from suspected COVID-19 patients from the provinces to be tested at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Manila.

She said that COVID-19 is not the only infectious disease that the country is dealing with. Garin pointed out people need their source of income to also buy maintenance medicines for other illnesses like diabetes and hypertension.

"We cannot just be preventing COVID, our patients will be ending up having illnesses simply because they can't buy their maintenance medication or they cannot have a good nutrition," she said.