Manila Bulletin

Zu­biri fears surge in COVID-19 cases due to eas­ing of quar­an­tine pro­to­cols

- By VANNE ELAINE P. TERRAZOLA Infectious Diseases · Health Conditions · F.C. Internazionale Milano · Emerging Infectious Diseases · Macao · Saudi Arabia · Namibia · Russia · Juan Miguel Zubiri

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Juan Miguel Zu­biri fears that the gov­ern­ment's fur­ther eas­ing of quar­an­tine pro­to­cols will re­sult in the in­crease of COVID-19 cases.

Zu­biri, a COVID-19 sur­vivor, raised the pos­si­bil­ity on Satur­day, Oct. 17, of a surge in coro­n­avirus in­fec­tions in the coun­try af­ter the In­ter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Man­age­ment of Emerg­ing In­fec­tious Dis­eases is­sued a new res­o­lu­tion lift­ing the re­stric­tions for non-es­sen­tial out­bound trav­els and beach vol­ley tour­na­ment, horse rac­ing, and cock­fight­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

It also al­lowed per­sons aged 15 to 65 years old to go out of their houses and en­ter malls and

other com­mer­cial es­tab­lish­ments.

"Alam mo, nakakatako­t. Ako Pa­tient 142 ako, isa ako sa mga nauna sa la­hat ni­tong 300 plus thou­sand, ha­los 350,000 [na cases ngayon], nakakatako­t ta­laga. Ang nakakatako­t dyan baka mag-surge muli ang at­ing mga nu­mero (You know, it's fright­en­ing. I was Pa­tient No. 142, I was among those who first got in­fected and one of the over 300,000 cases to­day, it's re­ally fright­en­ing. And what's wor­ri­some is that our num­bers may surge again)," Zu­biri told ra­dio DWIZ in an in­ter­view on Satur­day.

Zu­biri noted that coun­tries in Europe have ex­pe­ri­enced a sec­ond wave, or resur­gence of the COVID-19 out­break af­ter they lifted lock­downs and eased their health pro­to­cols.

"Nakakatako­t na mag-fully open tayo at this point in time," he said.

While rec­og­niz­ing the need to re­vive jobs and eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties, the Se­nate leader cau­tioned the gov­ern­ment against fully re­open­ing the econ­omy.

He ap­pealed to of­fi­cials to ac­quire the first few sup­plies of COVID-19 vac­cines once they are avail­able, men­tion­ing that some vac­cine can­di­dates were al­ready in the third phase of clin­i­cal tri­als.

Pres­i­dent Duterte ear­lier said COVID-19 vac­cines from Rus­sia are ex­pected to ar­rive in April. He said he has se­cured the fund­ing to pur­chase COVID-19 vac­cines, with in­di­gent fam­i­lies and ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the gov­ern­ment's Pantawid Pam­ilyang Pilipino Pro­gram (4Ps), as well as se­cu­rity forces, as pri­or­ity re­cip­i­ents of the im­mu­niza­tion.

But Zu­biri said se­nior cit­i­zens, chil­dren, and im­muno­com­pro­mised per­sons should also be in­cluded in the first batch of those who will be vac­ci­nated.

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