Extend MECQ to 1 month to build healthcare capacity â Leachon
This undated photo shows health reform advocate Tony Leachon.
Tony Leachon, Facebook
Extend MECQ to 1 month to build healthcare capacity — Leachon
Ratziel San Juan (Philstar.com) - August 8, 2020 - 2:47pm

MANILA, Philippines — The modified enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces enforced until August 18 should be extended up to a whole month in order to flatten the country's COVID-19 epidemic curve, a former adviser of the task force against the pandemic said Saturday.

Former National Task Force for COVID-19 special adviser Dr. Tony Leachon said that extension of the quarantine which started Tuesday is necessary to build the country's healthcare capacity for the meantime in order to effectively address the health crisis.

“Kung talagang MECQ ang gusto nila, isagad nila ng isang buwan tapos i-build up na 'yung health care capacity. Magpa-flatten tayo ng curve,” Leachon said in a Saturday morning interview over DZMM Teleradyo.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier this week approved the Department of Health's proposal to reintroduce MECQ in Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan after medical frontliners called for a "timeout" period so that the government can recalibrate its COVID-19 response efforts.

The quarantine period recommended by healthcare workers is meant to buy time to address existing issues on hospital workforce efficiency, failure of case finding and isolation, failure of contact tracing and quarantine, transportation safety, workplace safety, public compliance with self-protection and social amelioration.

RELATED: Medical frontliners advise return to ECQ in Mega Manila until August 15

Meanwhile, the month-long “one time, big time” lockdown would also allow the Philippines to bridge its health care gap and control the crisis in the months preceding a vaccine expected towards year's end, according to Leachon.

“Ngayon tayo umaarangkada pa lang doon sa healthcare capacity. So one time, big time. And then dadating ang bakuna ng Disyembre, tamang-tama kasi lahat ng countries sa buong mundo tatlong buwan nilang na-flatten ‘yung curve, 'yun ang timeframe,” the health reform advocate said.

“Kasi kailangan ma-bridge mo 'yung gap until the vaccine and how do you do that? Eh ngayon kung tayo ay tentative in terms of our management, baka hindi natin maabot 'yun.”

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