Joseph Peter Calleja, Manila
Updated: April 06, 2020 06:17 AM GMT
A resident using an improvised face shield made from a plastic water tank to protect him from the coronavirus walks in his neighborhood in Manila on April 5. (Photo: Ted Aljibe/AFP)
The Philippine government is now studying the possibility of extending enhanced community quarantines or lockdowns by another 15 to 20 days to “flatten the coronavirus curve” on Luzon, the country’s biggest island.
The National Task Force Covid-19 announced that although it is still too early to make an announcement, scientists and doctors were already looking at a lockdown extension beyond the April 12 expiry date to slow down the rate of transmission of the virus.
“It would be difficult to rush back to normal if we revert to another lockdown because the infection rate is still escalating,” said Carlito Galvez, chief implementer of the government’s policy on tackling the pandemic.
Galvez said there is a great possibility that there will be a 15-day extension in order to sustain the “low rate and to flatten the curve.”
Vice President Leni Robredo supports the proposed lockdown extension on Luzon. “I agree with the extension because, based on projections, it is better to extend the quarantines to flatten the curve,” she said on national television.
She said that people’s cooperation and understanding of the virus are crucial. “If they [the people] do not understand why they need to cooperate and promised government aid is not delivered to them, social unrest may really happen,” she added.
Meanwhile, the National Shrine of our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Manila, has been giving shelter to 42 construction workers who failed to return to Albay province before the implementation of the enhanced community quarantines.
Charlie Paladin, one of the workers, said they tried to walk to their province because the transport system across Luzon was already shut down.
“We tried to walk because our families do not have the money that we have worked for here in Manila. Because of the heat, we decided to take shelter. Thanks to the priests of this church who gave us accommodation. But still our families do not have money to buy food during this lockdown,” Paladin said.
Albay province lies 440 kilometers south of Manila.
As of April 6, the Philippines had recorded 3,414 Covid-19 cases with 152 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
….as we enter the last months of 2021, we are asking readers like you to help us keep UCA News free.
For the last 40 years, UCA News has remained the most trusted and independent Catholic news and information service from Asia. Every week, we publish nearly 100 news reports, feature stories, commentaries, podcasts and video broadcasts that are exclusive and in-depth, and developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes.
Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to – South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters who cover 23 countries in south, southeast, and east Asia. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don’t have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.