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Manila Bulletin - 2021-05-05

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Quarantine measures alone won't curb COVID-19 – doctors’ group

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By MARIA GABRIELA BARON

The Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) on Tuesday, May 4, reiterated that quarantine measures alone such as Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) are not enough to curb coronavirus disease (COVID-19). In an interview over DZBB, Dr. Maricar Limpin, Vice President of PCP, batted for contact tracing and mass testing as long-term solutions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country. While Limpin agrees that MECQ is helping reduce “the very rapid” transmission of the virus in Metro Manila, it is still not enough. “Ang community quarantine ay isang paraan kung saan makakatulong ma-contain natin yung pagdami ng kaso. So definitely makakatulong ito para ma-maintain natin sa MECQ yung NCR [National Capital Region] para mas lalo pa nating mapababa (Community quarantine is a measure in which we can help contain the rise in cases. So it will definitely help us to further reduce our cases while NCR is under MECQ),” Limpin said. “However, let me just emphasize itong mga quarantine measure na ito ay short-term lang (These quarantine measures are only short-term). Ang pinakaimportante (The most important), as we have been saying all along magmula pa (since) last year, we need to have permanent measures effective to contain the pandemic,” the physician added. Limpin stressed that the country needs to have a “uniform” contacttracing system and to strengthen its implementation within the local government unit level. “Standard sana yung contact tracing natin para mas mabilis, realtime at mahahabol agad natin yung mga tao na na-expose at ma-isolate agad natin, at kung magkasakit sila, i-treat natin agad (We need to have a standard contact tracing system so we can trace faster, real-time, and we can easily identify those who have been exposed to positive cases and we can quickly isolate and treat them),” she added. Limpin also renewed their call for mass testing as a long-term solution to contain the virus and to further reduce the cases. Zero in on recoveries As this developed, President Duterte said the country is faring well in combating the coronavirus pandemic compared to other nations. The President made the observation after citing the high number of people recovering from the coronavirus illness based on the report of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. Duterte remarked that the health chief was the nation's “hero” in the battle against coronavirus. “Compared with other countries, which is not really the time to make comparisons, but we are doing good in the fight against COVID,” Duterte said in a televised address on Monday, May 3. “And Secretary Duque is the hero there,” he added. The country has seen an alarming surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks that prompted the government to tighten movement controls to slow down the transmission. As of May 4, the country recorded 5,683 new case of infections, that brought the total number to 1,067,892. The number of people who recovered from coronavirus has reached 984,210. More than 17,000 people have died from the illness since the outbreak started last year. In his remarks, the President asked the people to look into the number of people who got infected and recovered from the coronavirus. He pointed out that over 900,000 Filipinos have survived the illness. “'Yung rate ng recovery tingnan naman ninyo (Take a look at the rate of recovery),” he said. (With a report from Genalyn Kabiling)

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