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CANE POINTS:In Covid Fight, Knowledge is Power

August 18, 2020

Not only one but two barangay chairmen in Bacolod City have tested positive for Covid 19. Thirty-one out of 61 barangays in the city have Covid cases.

More than 560 households have been placed under localized lockdown, aside from vital government offices.

More than 500 Bacolodnons have been confirmed to be infected, with 10 of these patients dying from the infection and its complications.

A disease with a fatality rate of about 2% is nothing to sneeze at, particularly in the midst of local transmission of the dreaded virus.

Bacolod is a microcosm of the country’s Covid situation. The city has undergone a series of ECQs, MECQs, GCQs and MGCQs for the past five months. Its people dutifully observed the wearing of face masks and face shields, and social distancing. Motorists suffered the hazard of the absurd motorcycle barrier, while businesses and employees grudgingly accept the comical 8pm curfew and liquor ban.

Despite all these, the number of Covid cases in Bacolod continues to rise, in the words of Bacolod Vice-Mayor and Covid-19 Inter-Agency Task Force head El Cid Familiaran, “exponentially” due to the local transmission.

Apparently, more measures need to be implemented and perhaps a different approach need to be applied.

Of course, the current basic measures like the wearing of face masks and face shields and physical distancing should always be observed. However, it should be implemented more vigorously and more consistently.

The infection of employees at and the closure of the Bacolod City Government Center, different barangay halls and other government offices in the city suggest that the implementation of basic health protocols in these edifices leave something to be desired.

Recently, the Department of Transportation mandated the use of face shields aboard public transportation vehicles. On its own initiative, the Bacolod City Police Office imposed the “No Face Shield, No Entry” in its offices last Monday.

Fine. But when you enter the BCPO HQ and proceed to transact business at the Bacolod Traffic Authority Office last Monday afternoon, you see the four or five female employees at the reception area clustered together, without observing physical distancing and without properly wearing their face masks, some of which are below the chin and some of which expose the nose.

It might be a good idea for BTAO head P/Lt. Col. Luisito Acebuche to assign an enforcer to ensure the strict observance of basic health protocols in the BTAO office.

But, judging from the way a tall fully-uniformed BTAO enforcer casually moved and crossed the steel barrier which separates the area for claiming drivers’ licenses from the main entrance, it might not be sound idea after all, because the enforcer himself does not appear to have much respect for the rules.

The point here is that government can’t expect its people to dutifully abide with all measures that the government imposes, if the government itself cannot strictly enforce such measures among its own employees.

More vigorous and more consistent implementation of basic health protocols should be observed, with government officials and employees themselves serving as the angelic examples of compliance to basis health protocols.

On the other hand, unbridled, exponential local transmission implies that all people, sooner than later, will eventually be exposed to a Covid carrier, particularly an asymptomatic patient.

Government’s fear-driven approach compels the people to cower in fear inside their houses and cover their entire bodies with plastic when going outside their houses.

Instead of the fear-driven approach, government should adopt the knowledge-driven approach.

Instead of scaring the people about the effects of the virus, government should enlighten people to know more about the virus, inform them of what to do if they suspect that they have contracted the virus, provide them with food, medicine and medical advice when they have contracted the virus, and monitor their progress diligently.

Only when they experience breathing problems should they be taken to a medical facility.

This approach has been practiced in the Middle East, in Europe and in the US.

Since what it is currently doing is not enough to arrest the spread of the virus, isn’t it high time for government to seriously look into another, more logical and scientific approach?*
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