TWO Thomasian doctors backed calls for a return to a stricter community quarantine to let health workers recover from the surge in Covid-19 cases.

Dr. Anthony Leachon, former Covid-19 National Task Force adviser, said it would be a “nightmare” for medical frontliners should the surge in cases continue.

“If you have limited hospitals and limited medical frontliners, the healthcare system will collapse, and the economy will follow because you have a sick workforce. And a sick workforce is equivalent to a sick economy,” he said.

Leachon said Metro Manila was in a better position to handle a stricter quarantine this time, citing increased healthcare and testing capacity.

He also suggested a “hammer-and-dance” strategy, taken from French-Spanish writer Tomás Pueyo’s viral post titled “Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now.” The “hammer” signifies the lockdown and the “dance” means opening up the economy.

“Once the number of infected cases and hospitalization rate go down, and the recovery rate increases, that would be the time to “dance carefully” and open up the economy again,” Leachon said.

‘Exit plan’

 Dr. Benjamin Co, an infectious diseases expert, said the government had no blueprint in addressing the pandemic.

“The government’s reaction to the problem requires a blueprint that addresses short, medium and long-term goals; not a miracle vaccine that the president rants about day in and out,” he told the Varsitarian.

Co said Metro Manila should go back to the stricter quarantine measures to avert a major meltdown of the healthcare system.

“The only exit plan now is to save lives. The choice of life over livelihood…It will be painful for many, but when the health capacity is overwhelmed, doctors will be placed in difficult positions to decide on who lives or who dies,” he said.

Co also urged the government to get more experienced health experts to handle the pandemic response rather than lay down military solutions.

“The government needs to get more experienced people into the planning and execution of this, not military people who have no knowledge of health at all,” he said.

On Aug. 1, several medical organizations appealed to the government to reimpose a two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila and nearby areas, arguing that the country was “waging a losing a battle” and health workers were “burned out.”

“Kaming mga frontliners ay napapagod na; We are overwhelmed,” Thomasian doctor Encarnita Limpin of the Philippine College of Physicians said in an online press conference headed by the Philippine College of Physicians.

 As of Aug. 2, the Philippines has recorded 103,185 confirmed cases, with a record-breaking 5,032 new cases, 2,059 fatalities and 65,557 recoveries.

Upon the recommendation of Cabinet secretaries, President Rodrigo Duterte on Aug. 2 approved a return to the modified ECQ for 15 days, from Aug. 4 to Aug. 18.


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