THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - April 8, 2020 - 12:00am

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has recommended an extension of the Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) to April 30. This is another two weeks on top of the original deadline and it already has the approval of President Duterte.

Opinions on the ECQ vary. Some say it should be extended for a month. This is the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) to preserve the gains of the current quarantine. That's also the opinion of Vice President Robredo and Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice. But if the entrepreneurs and businessmen are asked, they would rather have a selective quarantine of areas rather than a Luzon-wide extension. The purpose is to save the economy which is already suffering.

Wealthy countries like Singapore, Japan, and Malaysia have infused huge sums of money to protect their economies. Japan has released nearly one trillion dollars to distribute to families and small businesses that have lost their income due to the crisis. Malaysia has released 2.3 billion dollars to help small businesses too. Singapore has allocated 3.5 billion dollars to combat the COVID-19 impact. Here we are currently providing some money to the poorest families, but the process of distributing the financial aid gram is full of red-tape, problems, and issues. The protest that occurred in Quezon City may be an indication of the problems encountered by the government.

Healthcare providers and entrepreneurs will have opposing opinions. But daily wage earners are anxious to know if they still have jobs after the quarantine is lifted. We all want to return to normal but it may be a while before that even happens. We need to make sure there are no spikes in the number of infected. Even if the ECQ is finally lifted on April 30 --if it is lifted-- a new normal may be in place, which businesses that open may have to adapt to. I believe food and medicine will be the priority of many, and not the common luxuries we used to enjoy. It may be a while indeed before we can enjoy everything. For now, we all have to pitch in to eradicate this global scourge. I can't believe we would go through something like the Spanish Flu and the Plague today. Proof that the smallest of organisms are the most dangerous.

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