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Back to square one? Curfew, uniformed personnel, and localized lockdowns one year into COVID-19 lockdown

Are we back to where we started in 2020 when everything was mere speculation and decisions were not based on science?

Recent announcements from the national government have not filled netizens with confidence, especially with the looming anniversary of being on COVID-19 lockdown.

The flashbacks started when cases of COVID-19 started rising as the government looked to transition to a more relaxed modified general community quarantine.

From barely registering over 1,000 cases in a day, cases have spiked to between 3,000 and 4,000 in a day, with experts saying this is a result of increased mobility as well as new variants of the virus that causes COVID-19.

As some Filipinos go on self-imposed quarantine, the government would suddenly throw out policies reminiscent of when the global pandemic started in 2020–exactly a year ago.

Between increasing police and military visibility to enforce health protocols to localized lockdowns, the national government looks to merely repeat its “successes” in handling COVID-19.

This is something which Palace spokesperson Harry Roque seems to think highly of—outside of contact tracing, that is.

While Roque admitted that the government’s contact tracing could be better, he proposed that people stick to “preventive measures” to halt the spread of COVID-19.

Netizens, however, were not impressed with simple police visibility and the recently-imposed uniform curfew hours across Metro Manila, especially with daily COVID-19 cases about to breach the 4,600 mark.

Netizens pointed out how the government’s militarist response has never worked, and treating the disease as a peace and order crisis is not working.

One healthcare worker highlighted how the government seems to be focused on other things—like “trying to flush out rebels” instead of dealing with COVID-19.

Some questioned the decision to impose a uniform curfew in Metro Manila this long into the pandemic—especially with talks of opening up the economy under way.

Award-winning writer Jerry Gracio would double down on his critique of the uniform curfew hours in Metro Manila.

He said that the government should now be focusing its efforts on vaccination drives and not on such things as curfew, increased checkpoints, and the recent ban on public displays of affection.

This is highlighted by Senator Ping Lacson’s recent statement, wherein he said it will take until 2033 before the country reaches herd immunity status against COVID-19.

In a statement, Lacson asked the Department of Health (DOH) to speed up the COVID-19 vaccine roll out because at the current pace, it will take “11 years and 8 months” before we can fully reopen the economy.

Medical experts also questioned imposing a curfew, since children below 15 years of age are still not allowed to go out of their homes.

The capitol-wide curfew is set to begin on Monday, March 15, starting at 10 pm and ending at 5 am. The curfew will last for two weeks.

This is supposed to streamline curfew hours in the metro as the national government cited “confusion” amongst Filipinos traveling between cities.

Health protocols even in our own homes?

Netizens even poked fun at another suggestion from the Department of Interior and Local Government—wearing face masks and imposing physical distancing even at home.

This comes after health experts noticed an increase in cases of families getting infected with COVID-19.

According to infectious diseases expert Dr. Rontgene Solante, family clustering comes more from family members coming in and out of the house.

Solante also supports imposing health protocols even at home. He adds that families should essentially go on a self-imposed enhanced community quarantine and not accept guests—even if they are relatives.

The DOH and the IATF have yet to comment on the DILG’s recommendation.

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