Saturday, May 25, 2024

Delivering Stories of Progress


FIRING LINE: Till the next surge

Latest article

Advertisement - PS02barkero developers premium website


Hotel Okura Manila
Hotel 101
The Manor at Camp John Hay
Novotel Manila
Taal Vista Hotel
Advertisement - PS02barkero developers premium website

By Robert B. Roque, jr.

For months before this latest surge of COVID-19 cases in the country, I’ve counted myself among those who’ve scorned Bloomberg for dumping the Philippines at the bottom of the list of countries coping with the pandemic.

We’ve consistently rated poorest by its assessment regardless of how drastically our daily COVID-19 bulletins rise or fall. It’s almost as if its indicator lights have been blinking red when it gauges our country’s ability to stay on the path of pandemic and economic recovery.

And here’s why. Bloomberg has stressed that the Philippines needs to lower the positivity rate, increase the vaccination rate, increase the delivery of boosters, and decrease the severity of lockdowns. The problem is our healthcare system is so weak, to begin with.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III will tell you that we cannot do enough testing to catch an infection before it spreads. Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez, for all his encouragement, will confirm we still haven’t met our 2021 vaccination targets. And since the basic formula in battling COVID-19 transmission is anchored on vaccination and testing, our response is just too late the hero.

Now that we’ve started the inoculation of younger kids aged five to 11, it’s almost as if we’ve given up on the chunk of older people who refuse vaccination and the campaign to convince the millions more who don’t believe the jab will save their lives, not end it.

Meanwhile, our government is so stressed by the failing economy that it wants to rush to declare parts of the country, particularly Metro Manila, as “low risk” areas in two weeks, even if infections continue to rise by the thousands as we speak.

Dr. Rontgene Solante, an infectious disease expert at San Lazaro Hospital, warns we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. He said it’s “too early” and “too drastic” to be talking about shifting to Alert Level 1. OCTA Research fellow Guido David reminds us that Metro Manila still accounts for 15 percent of the daily cases nationwide. And former National Task Force against COVID-19 adviser Dr. Tony Leachon underscores that “our healthcare system is our weakest link.”

 As the campaign season for national candidates officially kicked off this week, there is more risk for people massing up. One thing consistent about our people is the lack of discipline in following health and safety protocols when in public, especially when cheering for their presidential bet.

Even the opening of our gateways to foreign visitors for business or leisure and suspending regulations on Green, Yellow or Red list countries to welcome all fully vaccinated travelers without the requirement of facility-based quarantine is go, go, go for tourism and business, but may come at the cost of great public health risks.

So, while the country might be staying on the path of economic recovery, there’s a lot to be desired from our government’s COVID response – particularly in testing, vaccination, and healthcare capacity – to really sustain our momentum towards genuine recovery. So, till the next surge, I guess.

*         *         *

SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at

Advertisement - PS04spot_img

More articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Advertisement - PS05spot_img
Advertisement - PS01spot_img

Must read

Advertisement - PS03spot_img