Worst crisis in recent years
THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - March 23, 2020 - 12:00am

The Office of the Vice President (OVP) initiated its free shuttle service last week for frontline healthcare personnel who have difficulty getting to work due to the suspension of public transportation. But even this was not spared by misinformation and fake news perpetrated by those wanting to give the OVP a bad image. Trolls, in other words. Fortunately, the OVP countered the attacks and disowned the information being passed on. There are shuttles that serve six routes running through hospitals. According to the OVP, they will evaluate and improve the service as it goes along. The administration and the AFP have their own versions on free rides. I'm sure they did not encounter fake news.

At a press conference held by the local government unit of Quezon City on Wednesday, Mayor Joy Belmonte announced that there were areas with multiple positive COVID-19 cases. She now prefers a stricter "extreme enhanced community quarantine" (EECQ). This means that no one will be allowed to leave their homes. The area around St. Luke’s Quezon City, the area around East Avenue Medical Center, Lung Center, Heart Center, and NKTI will be closed. There is a place in Tandang Sora that faces closure as well. These are the “hotspots” to avoid.

Again, there must be clear rules for the EECQ. We have no idea how long this crisis will last so food and medicine runs by one person must be allowed. And one person cannot carry the groceries he or she will buy. Not all households joined the panic-buying craze so their supplies may be depleted. Those who need medical attention or services must be allowed to travel. We are now in a virtual house arrest for at least a month. Does it feel like a prison for some? Anxiety disorders or depression may be triggered in some. There should be ways to soften the blow on everyone. We do not know how long COVID-19 will continue infecting people. The count has soared to 380. Twenty-five have died. Quezon City is too big to monitor so everyone is requested to cooperate with the actions and announcements of the local government. Hopefully, the strict implementation of EECQ will stop the spread of the virus.

Many are relieved by the decisions of some banks and companies offering a one-month extension to pay their fees. But at the end of that one-month extension, wouldn't that also mean you have to pay double? SM did announce the suspension of rent at all their malls nationwide while quarantine is being implemented. Many shops are out of business anyway because of the government shutdown. That's really good to hear, but of course, bad for employees who are in limbo right now.

I would like to shout out to all the groups that are volunteering to help the frontline healthcare workers, or the companies that have offered monetary help or much-needed medical supplies and those who have extended due dates, I thank you. This is the most serious crisis the whole nation is facing in recent years. This is the time to pull together not tear each other apart which I heard is still happening on social media. Obey government rules. With life grinding down to a halt, these strict measures must be followed.

korina_abs@yahoo.com

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