Robredo on doctors’ call for comprehensive strategy vs. COVID-19: We need to listen

Published August 1, 2020 4:16pm; Updated August 1, 2020 4:20pm

Vice President Leni Robredo on Saturday said the government has to listen to the doctors who have made the call for a comprehensive strategy against COVID-19.

“Our doctors are sending a distress call. They are asking govt for a timeout to recalibrate, restrategize, redirect our policies because our strategy and measures are not working. They are afraid they might be pushed into a situation where they must decide who lives and who dies,” Robredo said in a tweet.

“The points raised by our doctors have also been part of repeated calls for action, not only from our office, but from experts and even affected sectors. We need to listen, so that we can start rising from this crisis. The only way to get through this is to stand together,” she said.

Various medical associations on Saturday called on President Rodrigo Duterte to place the National Capital Region under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) again as health workers were already worn out due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases being admitted in hospitals.

“The medical community appeals for return to enhanced community quarantine in Mega Manila from August 1 to 15 to recalibrate strategies against COVID-19,” according to the joint letter read by Philippine Medical Association president Jose Santiago in a virtual press conference.

“Health care workers are united in sounding a distressed signal to the nation. Our healthcare system is overwhelmed,” Santiago said.

Signatories to the joint letter addressed to Duterte, chief implementer Carlito Galvez, and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III include the:

  • Philippine Medical Association,
  • Philippine College of Physicians, Philippine Pediatric Society,
  • Philippine Society of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology,
  • Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases,
  • Philippine League Against Epilepsy, Diabetes Philippines,
  • Philippine Society of Public Health Physicians,
  • Philippine Academy of Pediatric Pulmonologists,
  • Philippine Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Philippine Neurological Association,
  • Philippine Ambulatory Pediatric Association,
  • Philippine Society for Development and Behavioral Pediatrics, and
  • Child Neurology Society Philippines, among others

Malacañang earlier on Saturday rejected calls to place the National Capital Region back to ECQ amid rising COVID-19 cases.

“The strict lockdown in Metro Manila has served its purpose, and we need to intensify other strategies,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

“Community quarantine alone, we repeat, is an insufficient response in controlling COVID-19.  We are scaling up hospital capacity by increasing allocation of COVID-dedicated beds while hiring more doctors, nurses, and medical-personnel,” he said.

However, Roque said on Saturday afternoon that Duterte has directed the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to act on the concerns of the medical frontliners immediately.

Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon was placed under ECQ in mid-March to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. In mid-May, the National Capital Region was placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), then general community quarantine (GCQ) starting June 1. —KG, GMA News