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Facing the spike

A coalition of healthcare professionals called on private firms and local government units to implement measures such as staggered working hours and coordinated contact tracing as the country deals with another spike in COVID-19 cases.

The Healthcare Professionals Alliance against COVID-19 (HPAAC), a coalition of more than 160 medical societies, asked businesses and local governments to improve the situation in workplaces and communities as the spike in cases reached an all-time high.

HPAAC asked the private sector to allow work from home arrangements and implement staggered work hours to avoid congestion inside workplaces and public utility vehicles. It also urged businesses to improve ventilation in workplaces and intensify the enforcement of “Apat Dapat” campaign which includes A – air circulation and ventilation, P – physical distancing of one meter or more, A – always use face mask and face shield, T – thirty minutes interactions or less.

HPAAC also urged LGUs to impose granular lockdowns, capacitate Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams, improving the quality of care in isolation facilities, and have a coordinated contact tracing system.

Other suggestions included the acceleration of pop-up bike lanes, creating open spaces for business and leisure activities, and discourage dining in enclosed spaces and encourage take-outs.

LGUs were also told to reconsider the imposition of curfews as these limit the number of work and travel hours, packing work areas and streets.

In response to the Department of Health saying the public’s failure to comply with minimum health protocols is the “underlying cause” of the increase in cases, Dr. Antonio Dans said “Let’s stop blaming the people. They’re doing everything they can to comply. But we force them into crowds, we force them into enclosed spaces. We force them into situations where they cannot follow those four rules, ‘Apat Dapat,” he added.

“Our call is mainly to the LGUs and business establishments to help people comply,” he said.

The worrying spike in cases needs to be addressed and prepared for, especially in areas where efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 has been relatively successful. The spike in other parts of the country will inevitably spread unless the private sector and LGUs implement science-based and creative measures that can help people comply and protect themselves as we continue to do what we can to reduce the threat of infections as the spike threatens to rage across the country.*

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