Espinoza: Extend MGCQ until Covid-19 is over!

Elias L. Espinoza
·3 min read

WE SHOULD be superbly grateful to God for sparing us from the wrath of Typhoon Rolly that ravaged the Bicol Region, particularly the Province of Catanduanes. Our deepest sympathy to the people of Bicol Region who lost their loved ones and properties to the merciless Rolly.

President Digong Duterte visited the typhoon-hit places to belie claims of his critics that he was nowhere during the typhoon. The President would be in his office or residence because he is not superman who would go out and battle with the typhoon. All that he could do, which he did, is muster his Cabinet and provide relief to the victims of Rolly.

Other local government units spared from the typhoon are sending their financial and material aids to Bicol Region. Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Brigadier General Albert Ignatius Ferro will send 100 police officers from the Crisis Response Battalion (CRB) to the Bicol Region. The policemen will bring relief goods and will also assist in the search and rescue operations, said Ferro.

Any typhoon is a disaster. It's even worse because we are still reeling from the Covid-19 pandemic. Relief operations would be less prompt this time because of this Covid-19 since the relief work would be doubled as they have also to contain the possible spread of the virus.

The coronavirus! The Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) recommended the extension of the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) for Region 7 until November 30, 2020. I would even dare suggest (I know this is unpopular to others) to keep Cebu or Central Visayas under MGCQ until after Covid-19 is gone.

After all, almost all businesses have reopened and everyone now does their thing as usual. The only difference is that we are still complying with the minimum health standards -- wearing of face masks/shields, social distancing, and regularly washing our hands with soap or putting on alcohol -- which to me is good and a healthy practice for everyone.

Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH-7 spokesperson, said "a more relaxed quarantine level does not mean that the virus is gone, and the vaccine is still not available." Loreche urged us to be mindful, cautious and more vigilant as more people would be moving about in December. She advised senior citizens, being vulnerable, to schedule their going to the mall to avoid the virus. She said big parties are still discouraged. Or, should have been not allowed?

So, what's the new normal? Which comes next after the MGCQ is lifted. The IATF-EID described the new normal as the "emerging behaviors, situations, and minimum public health standards that will be institutionalized in common or routine practices and remain even after the pandemic, while the disease is not totally eradicated through means such as widespread immunization."

In the "new normal," before we are immunized from this Covid-19, the minimum health standards would now be part of our daily routine. I would be glad to comply even if it means uneasiness to others. Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force against Covid-19, said that Phase 3 of the National Action Plan (NAP) is officially implemented from October 2020 to March 2021 as we transition to the "new normal."

Galvez said an equilibrium should be reached between ensuring the public health and economic recovery in NAP Phase 3. During the lockdowns (Phases 1 and 2), the country's economy was in doldrums but the spread of the virus was contained. Am happy to oblige!