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Medical frontliners warn Philippines losing battle against COVID-19

Medical frontliners warn Philippines losing battle against COVID-19

dpa
Manila
Philippine medical frontliners on Saturday urged the government to re-impose a lockdown in the capital for two weeks to recalibrate the response against the coronavirus outbreak, warning that the country was losing the battle against COVID-19.
In an open letter to President Rodrigo Duterte, 68 groups of doctors, nurses and other health care workers called for a two-week “time out” amid the government’s efforts to re-open the economy, which has included easing restrictions throughout the country.
“We are waging a losing battle against COVID-19, and we need to draw up a consolidated, definitive plan of action,” they said in the letter that was also addressed to the health minister and head of a national coronavirus taskforce.
“We propose that the two-week enhanced community quarantine be used as ‘time out’ to refine our pandemic control strategies, addressing the... urgent problems,” they added.
The groups said putting the capital of Manila under lockdown again would allow authorities to address problems with hospital workforce deficiencies, failures in case finding, isolation and contact tracing, as well as transportation and workplace safety, and public compliance.
The number of coronavirus infections in the Philippines has been surging since the middle of July.
On Saturday, the Department of Health reported a record 4,963 additional confirmed coronavirus infections, pushing the country’s total caseload to 98,232. The death toll also rose to 2,039 with 17 additional deaths, it added.
“The health sector cannot hold the line for much longer,” the groups warned.
“Our health care workers should not bear the burden of deciding who lives and who dies. If the health system collapses, it is ultimately the poor that is most affected.”
“Though health may be just one dimension, let us remember that we need healthy people to reinvigorate our economy.”
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the government understands the need to balance public health and the country’s economic health, and would discuss the medical workers’ appeal in the next meeting of the task force on COVID-19.

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