'Mauuwi lang sa wala': Doctor says 1-week ECQ not enough to fight COVID surge


Posted at Mar 31 2021 11:36 AM

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MANILA - A health expert on Wednesday said extending the enhanced community quarantine for another week would greatly help the Philippine government's efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Mas maganda ang magiging impact kung umabot tayo ng dalawang linggo,” said Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, a pediatric infectious disease expert and a member of the Department of Health Technical Advisory Group.

(The impact would be better if we extend it to two weeks.)

The incubation period of COVID-19 is two weeks, Lim said, adding that the effects of any intervention would also take the same amount of time to be felt. 

“Kung kunwari isang linggo lang natin ito gagawin tapos titigil na tayo, tapos babalik tayo sa dating gawi, personally ang feeling ko mauuwi lang sa wala itong ating intervention. So kung kaya sanang ma-consider na 2 linggo, mas malaki ang magiging impact sa ating sistema,” she said in an interview on TeleRadyo.

(If, let’s say we’ll only do this for one week, then we’ll stop, and go back to our usual activities, personally I feel all our interventions might have been all for naught. So if they could consider extending this to two weeks, it would have a big impact on our system.)

The government placed Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna under ECQ from March 29 to April 4 to stem the spread of COVID-19. Hospitals in the NCR Plus Bubble have reached the critical level in COVID-19 bed capacity.

As of Tuesday, the Philippines logged a total of 9,296 new infections, bringing the total number of active cases to 124,680. The Philippines has a total of 741,181 cases, including 603,310 recoveries and 13,191 deaths as of Tuesday.

“Pero ang isang pwedeng tingnan how well have we been able to comply and what has been the impact. Kung maganda naman s'yempre, mas gusto nating hindi masyadong mahaba para hindi masyadong matinding impact sa ekonomiya,” she said.

(Let’s also see how well have we been able to comply and what has been the impact. If its good, then we don’t want to extend it that long so that it won’t have that much impact on the economy.) 

The government has decided to roll out 30,000 rapid antigen tests daily to ramp up COVID-19 detection in Metro Manila and its 4 nearby provinces.

Lim said government has adopted the case counting based on antigen test “because it's very important now to be able to identify those who are sick and take them out of circulation.” Those who take antigen test would no longer need to take PCR screening.
“Ngayon sinasabi wag mo nang i-confirm basta ikaw ay symptomatic at positive ika count ka na namin sa case para hindi dumagdag doon sa kailangang i-PCR,” she said.

(Now there is no need to confirm as along as you’re symptomatic and positive, your case will now be counted so as not to add to those who need to undergo PCR.)

Lim underscored the need for early COVID-19 detection but also noted the difficulties patients and hospitals are experiencing now.

“Let me take it two steps back and advice unang-una mag-ingat para hindi mahawa. Pangalawa, dapat maaga talaga ang konsultahan,” she said.

(Let me take it two steps back and advice first to be careful not to be infected and secondly, to seek immediate consultation.)

- TeleRadyo 31 March 2021