EDITORIAL - Super spreader

EDITORIAL - Super spreader

(The Philippine Star) - May 11, 2021 - 12:00am

With gatherings limited to 10 while Metro Manila is under modified enhanced community quarantine, approximately 300 people jumped into a swimming pool in Caloocan City last Sunday, enjoying the summer as if there was no coronavirus bringing sickness and death.

The swimmers weren’t completely to blame. The owners of the Gubat sa Ciudad resort allowed them to enjoy the facilities. And officials of Barangay 171 where Gubat sa Ciudad is located along Bagumbong Road were either sleeping on the job or looking the other way as that large crowd entered the resort. The worst possibility is that the barangay personnel themselves or their relatives were also at the resort, cooling themselves in the public pool.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government had warned over the weekend that local executives would be held accountable for such lapses. But the DILG said Caloocan Mayor Oscar Malapitan would be spared, after he shut down and permanently revoked the business permit of Gubat sa Ciudad. Criminal charges are being readied against the resort owner as well as administrative charges against the barangay captain in the area.

Worried about a potential COVID super spreader, the Department of Health wants all guests at the resort to undergo 14-day quarantine – if they can be located. Only three have been identified and in fact were arrested – for beating up TV5 cameraman Arnel Tugade who was taking video footage of the guests being made to leave the resort.

Malapitan said most of the guests are from outside the city; those from Caloocan would be made to undergo RT-PCR swab testing. Good luck tracking down all the guests. If any of them caught the coronavirus in that pool, they would now be spreading it outside Caloocan, with the same careless irresponsibility that brought them to the resort amid the variant-fueled COVID surge. With this kind of blatant disregard for public health protocols, the country may never tame COVID.

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