Briones: Collective effort

Publio J. Briones III

TO MANY, it may seem harsh, requiring persons aged 65 and above and all students, even those who have graduated from college but are still unemployed, not to leave their homes while the whole of Cebu is threatened by the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), which has already reached our shores.

But, as Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia reminded them, it’s for their own good.

Of course, there are exemptions.

In the case of Cebu City, they are “elected government officials, other authorized government officials, individuals occupying key positions in private establishments, public and private medical practitioners, hospital and medical establishment workers, volunteers of emergency response units and individuals requiring medical treatment or checkup provided that a medical certificate shall be presented to proper authorities.”

To be honest, I think only those seeking medical treatment should be exempted like people who are on dialysis. They really don’t have any choice, do they? Unless they have their personal thingamajig.

As for the rest, they’re better off waiting this out in the comfort of their own homes. Because, seriously, Covid-19 won’t care if you’re an elected official or some bigshot in some multinational.

I read in one news report that “at least 34 government officials, mostly without symptoms or aggravating conditions, have demanded that the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) of the Department of Health (DOH) prioritize their diagnostic tests for Covid-19, including that of their asymptomatic family members, while patients under investigation (PUIs), displaying real symptoms waited to be tested for the disease.”

These officials probably think they’re entitled. Why? Because they’re with the government? Aren’t they there to serve the public? Shouldn’t the latter then take priority over the former?

“The opportunity to test more PUIs is wasted. It’s okay if only one official will be tested, but they include all family members,” the news report quoted an RITM staffer, who noted that the problem of unnecessary testing is worsened by the limited number of test kits.

At any rate, I hope these people will realize that just because they test negative now doesn’t mean they will never get infected. Most of them aren’t even frontliners. But hey, it’s still too early to tell. Karma has a way of creeping up on the unsuspecting.

Here in Cebu, our governor has been working tirelessly to try and address this pandemic. But she is only one person and she can only do so much.

If Cebu wants to emerge relatively unscathed from this threat, everyone, and I mean everyone, must cooperate and do their bit.