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CANE POINTS:Bolster Info Drive on Covid

By Butch Bacaoco, September 10, 2020

As expected, the first day of implementation of the home quarantine passes caused logjams at checkpoints and horrific delays to the already long-suffering Bacolodnons and Negrenses.

The HQP system is expected to be implemented until September 19. Until then, only holders of HQPs ending in odd numbers can go out on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while those holding HQPs ending in even numbers can go out on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. No HQPs will be honored on Sundays.

This is just the latest of the numerous restrictions imposed on Bacolodnons by the city government, under the principle that the virus will stop spreading if the people will stop moving.
Citizens have witnessed a total liquor ban which was eventually lifted, re-imposed and now modified to allow a time frame for the selling of alcoholic drinks. Bacolodnons have gritted their teeth as the 10pm curfew was moved to 8pm and consequently reverted to 10pm.

Very recently, the HQP system was initially announced to be implemented on September 3, only to be revised at the last minute to September 6, because there wasn’t enough time to distribute the HQPs to each and every household in the city.

Bacolodnons can’t help shaking their heads and grinning resignedly at this wishy-washy decision-making from the Bacolod New Government Center. This series of flip-flops makes one wonder if the city’s leaders know what they are doing, or if they simply give out orders and policies without considering the full ramifications of those regulations.

The virus will stop spreading, if the people will stop moving. Fine. But how can you totally stop people from moving, so that you can totally stop the virus from spreading?
No way can it be done.

This virus is here to stay.

Government can’t continue closing down offices vital for public services, just because one of its employees tested positive for Covid. Government can’t just continue impeding the movement of people and hampering their ability to earn their daily keep, just because of the fear that Covid might spread.

Bacolod has been experiencing “exponential local transmission”. Granting that the number of Covid positive cases is approximately 1,500, how many have been tested so far? Have the city tested 50,000 persons already? What percentage is this, compared to the more than 560,000 population of the city way back in 2015?

Considering that there has been limited testing, that there is “exponential local transmission” and that a huge majority of Covid cases are asymptomatic, it is not far-fetched to assume that the number of asymptomatic Covid cases roaming around the city is 10, 20, 30 or even 50 times greater than what has been officially recorded!

The virus is here to stay. There’s no way that its spread can be totally stopped, because there’s no way that the movement of people can be totally stopped.

Moreover, there’s no way to know if the people that a person mingles with in the streets, in the wet market, in the jeepneys and in the workplace are Covid positive or not.

Thus, the wearing of face masks and face shields, the observance of physical distancing, and frequent hand washing and disinfection are a must.

However, over and beyond ensuring adherence to these basic health protocols, government should inform and educate the people about Covid, so that they will not get paranoid if they experience a symptom or two of the disease.

Covid is nothing to laugh at, but contracting the disease is not the end of the world. Remember that the national average of survival from Covid is above 99%! In Bacolod, it’s about 98%.
City officials should launch a massive info dissemination campaign to remind people on how to build their immune systems, so that they will not be easy prey to the virus.

Don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t stay up late at night. Eat nutritious food, take vitamins, get plenty of rest. Exercise and get some sunshine in the morning. Just to name a few.

Government should inform the people on what symptoms to watch out for, and what steps to take to address each of these symptoms. What vitamins and medicine should they take? How often? What food and fluids should they consume? How long should they expect the symptom to last?

What should they do, if the symptoms persist? Whom should they call for help and medical advice? At what point should they seek medical attention and subject themselves to a swab test?

While waiting for the swab test, where should they be quarantined? What assistance can they expect from the government, once they are in quarantine? What should they bring with them in the quarantine facility?

If people are informed, they have greater chances of beating the virus. If people are aware of what will happen, they will be more prepared and they won’t be prone to panic.*
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