The country’s first community quarantine was declared on March 16, 2020. As of this writing (one year and seven months later), we are still at it. We’ve gone through ECQ, MECQ, GCQ, MGCQ, GCQ with Heightened Restriction, and now granular lockdowns with Alert levels 1-4.
Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking has referred to the Philippines as the “worst place to be amid the pandemic.” (Bloomberg is a global provider of financial news and information, research, and data.) This ranking comes when the rest of the world is slowly working its way back to a bit of “normal” like face-to-face classes.
What was setting the country back? We asked Dr. Pia Hugo, an internal medicine practitioner. She is currently serving under the Post-Residency Deployment Program of the Department of Health as a medical officer at RPHS Antipolo Annex II, a COVID-19 hospital.
“I think the one thing that is really setting us back is the lack of adequate short- and long-term plans from the government We have the longest lockdown in the world, and still with no end in sight.”
As a result of extended lockdowns, people are starting to have quarantine fatigue and burnout, making them less likely to follow safety protocols.
“On top of this, the healthcare is collapsing, the healthcare workers are tired, and patients are dying in their homes due to lack of access to hospital facilities,” Dr. Hugo adds, sharing the realities she has witnessed firsthand.
When more healthcare workers either choose another profession or prefer to work in another country where working conditions are better and treated better, the people in charge are likely missing the bigger picture, laments Dr. Hugo.
Despite these realities the country’s frontliners witness, Dr. Hugo is still one who chooses to see the silver lining in the situation.
“That said, one less patient to save is already a big help,” she says.
Winning the fight against the pandemic relies on the people as much as it does on the government. So Dr. Hugo has these reminders that we all should continue to observe and practice:
- For those who can afford to stay at home, practice voluntary ECQ.
- If it is really necessary to go out, wear your face masks and shields properly, practice social distancing and hand hygiene.
- Avoid enclosed spaces as much as possible. Choose take-out or delivery instead of dining in.
- Avoid physical reunions with friends or relatives. There are many virtual platforms available for you to communicate and be with them.
- Get vaccinated. Any brand of vaccine will suffice because an ounce of added protection is already significant.
In the end, Dr. Hugo says we are all in this together. “No one is safe until everyone is.”
Read here doctor homecare tips for people with COVID-19