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Healthcare workers want NCR placed under ECQ 

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Healthcare workers, exhausted and overwhelmed by the surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients needing hospital care are urging government to shift Metro Manila back to the stricter enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

In July, the Philippines recorded the biggest daily jump in COVID-19 deaths in Southeast Asia and the biggest single-day increase in confirmed infections, after government eased quarantine restrictions to revive the economy.

On Friday, the Department of Health reported 4,063 new cases bringing the total confirmed cases to 93,354 as of July 31.

“Dito sa pag-modify ng ECQ medyo umangat na ang tao na nagkakaroon ng COVID-19. At mas nakita natin ang pagdami ng spread noong nag-GCQ (general community quarantine) na tayo (When they declared a modified ECQ, we noticed a rise in COVID-19 cases. And we saw widespread transmissions when we were placed under GCQ),” Dr. Maricar Limpin, Vice President of the Philippine College of Physicians told DZMM Teleradyo.

“Eto ang pinakakinatatakutan namin, baka dumating tayo sa punto na mapagod na yung mga nasa ospital na syang last line of defense natin. Mawawalan ng serbisyo sa atin mamamayang Pilipino, pakiusap sana namin, wag naman sana i-relax pa ang community quarantine. Kung pwede lang sana ibalik Metro Manila sa ECQ [kahit dalawang linggo], (This is what we fear most, that we will get to a point where our frontliners in the hospital who are our last line of defense will tire out. There will be no one to serve the patients in the hospitals. That is why we are appealing to the government not to relax the community quarantine. If possible, please revert Metro Manila to ECQ even for just two weeks),” she added.

Limpin said during the ECQ, the country recorded the lowest COVID-19 cases daily and the movement of people were more controlled.

“Ang hinihiling sana namin, kahit po siguro panandalian lang bigyan kami ng breathing space. Kasi kami po ang naririyan sa battlefield e. Kami po yung humaharap at nakakakita ng nangyayari, so sana po pakinggan kami ng gobyerno (What we are asking is to give us some breathing space. Because we are the ones fighting in the battlefield. We are the ones facing and seeing what’s happening, so I hope the government will listen to us),” Limpin appealed.

Limpin said they fear the day when hospitals start turning away more patients because they are already at full capacity and healthcare workers are already “bogging down.”

“Ang pinakamahirap dyan, marami tayong itataboy na pasiyente dahil hindi na talaga kakayanin ng ospital na tumanggap pa ng higit sa kung anong meron tayo (The hardest part is when hospitals start turning away patients because they are already running at full capacity),” she noted.

The Department of Health ordered hospitals to increase COVID-19 bed capacity to address the surge in coronavirus cases. However, Limpid said it is not that easy because there is a shortage in doctors, nurses, and even ambulance drivers.

“Hindi lang yung numero lang ng available na beds ang ating titingnan. Titingnan din natin ang ating manggagawang pangkalusugan, kahit gustuhin po namin na i-increase ang beds kung wala naman tao na pwedeng magsilbi at tumingin sa mga Pilipino, paano namin tatanggapin yung mga pasiyenteng yan? (We should not just look at the number of available beds. We should also consider the situation of our healthcare workers, even if we want to increase our bed capacity, there’s no one to attend to them, how can we admit those patients?),” Limpin added.

“Nakikita na namin yan, ilang beses na nagpupunta ang mga pasiyente sa mga ospital at ilang beses na rin silang nasasabihan na, closed na kami, punung-puno na kami, pumunta na lang kayo sa ibang ospital. At sasabihan kami, pang apat na kayo, pang lima na kayo at wala na kaming mapuntahan pa (We are already experiencing that. Patients wanting to be admitted to hospitals, and these hospitals turn them away because they are already full. Patients are advised to go to other hospitals but they tell us you’re the fourth or fifth hospital we’ve been to. We have nowhere else to go),” she added, describing the hapless condition at hospitals.

Limpin also appealed to the public to strictly follow minimun health protocols such as the proper wearing of face masks and observe physical distancing while in public to curb the spread of COVID-19.

On Friday, President Duterte maintained the GCQ status in Metro Manila and 12 other areas in the country.

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