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Opinion

Back to ECQ

THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez - The Freeman

The Palace has announced the NCR will be under ECQ, the strictest quarantine or lockdown classification, due to the increasing number of Delta variants of COVID-19. The duration of the ECQ is from August 6 to 20. With the release of this announcement groceries and supermarkets were immediately filled with people due to the expected panic buying that seems a natural reaction of everyone.

The government immediately issued guidelines regarding the scheduled ECQ. This is not the same ECQ we experienced from March to May of last year. Groceries and supermarkets will be allowed to open although the number of shoppers will be limited, pharmacies are open, delivery and courier services will continue, banks will be open although operating on a skeletal force. Those who must leave their homes must have a valid reason such as going to the hospital, undergoing dialysis, or purchasing medication. Whenever possible, necessities should be delivered. Mass gatherings of any kind are not allowed, even Masses. Eating in restaurants is not allowed and only take-home services will be operational. Allowing public transportation is still being discussed. The flow of people in and out of NCR from the provinces will be monitored. PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar reminded police officers that hurting or humiliating those caught violating the ECQ is not part of their mandate. He should have said that to previous PNP chiefs where people were shamed, hurt, or even killed.

The situation is not new to everyone. But a strict lockdown similar to last year cannot be enforced because of the economy. Many businesses have closed, many have lost their jobs. I understand one needs to work to support their family or themselves but ignoring the risk brought about by the Delta variant is irresponsible. If all businesses are allowed to fully open and receive customers at the risk of spreading COVID-19, this is something difficult to weigh. It's easy to ignore the risk until you get sick.

I advise everyone to stay home during the two-week ECQ. Hopefully, it stops the spread of the Delta variant. Vaccination programs of LGUs will continue but must be done in an orderly and cautious manner. This should serve as a wake-up call to those with doubts or hesitations about vaccination. It is still the best protection against severe COVID infections. Misinformation about vaccinations must be addressed and acted upon by the government. A US senator mocked our mandates regarding masks and face shields when Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently visited the country to discuss the VFA. He wore a mask and face shield upon arrival even if fully vaccinated. He should understand countries have different practices to fight COVID and at the same time compare the total number of cases and deaths of the US and the Philippines. See what that tells him.

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