Solon pushes for another 2-week lockdown extension after April 30

A House representative on Monday pushed for another 2-week lockdown extension after April 30, citing reopening Luzon despite the continuous increase of COVID-19 cases “would be willful neglect.”

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Salceda said the government should be able to test at least 0.22 percent of the population before lifting the lockdown. He also said the government should ensure the health workers’ safety before ending the ECQ.

“Lifting the enhanced community quarantine amounts to carelessly exposing the entire population to infection, no matter what residual social distancing,” he said in a statement.

“We’re simply not there yet no matter how much we wish this pandemic to end,” said Salceda, who also co-chairs the House Economic Stimulus Cluster.

“It would be almost willful neglect to say that the country can now reopen,” he said.

The representative from Albay noted the government has only tested 0.1 percent, with about 130,000 COVID-19 testings expected to be done by April 30.

“We are most possibly missing many positive [cases] especially asymptomatic cases that are undetected and at large,” he said.

Salceda said the Philippines’ healthcare system would be “at-risk” if the government allows “a big swathe of social contacts exposed to an epidemic with doubling time of 12 days.”

“We would simply overwhelm their nascent capacities, opening the margin for mistakes,” he added.

“In the medium term under such scenario, the consequences on consumer confidence would be aggravated,” he said.

Also read: Government eyes phase-by-phase lifting of ECQ

Solon pushes for another 2-week lockdown extension after April 30

The solon said asking COVID-19 policymakers to choose between health or the economy “is a mischaracterization of the tradeoff and a short-sighted assessment of the situation.”

“The idea that we are choosing between economic damage and health damage is misguided. We are trying to minimize both [damage],” he said.

“At this rate, opening up the county and hoping that we will not have to lock it down again is wishful thinking,” he added.

“Let’s finish the job now, when we are already building on some successes, rather than erase those gains and then face a second wave later.”

President Rodrigo Duterte is set to meet with Secretary III and former Health chiefs to discuss the next in dealing with the pandemic crisis in the country.

As of this posting, the Philippines has 6,259 cases, 409 deaths, and 572 recoveries.