Is Bicol the next India in terms of COVID-19 situation?

The medical groups in the Bicol Region appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Infectious Diseases to place Bicol in the enhanced community quarantine to control the surge in cases. Otherwise, they claim, Region 5 may be the next India in terms of COVID-19 situation.

In a signed by the presidents of the Albay Medical Society, Camarines Sur Medical Society, the Philippine Medical Association-Bicol, and the Philippine College of Physicians-Bicol, the surge in cases of COVID-19 resulted from the following:

  • laxity in the implementation of minimum health standards in a number of major business establishments
  • inadvertently lenient application of the minimum health standards in local government units (LGUs)
  • some local officials disregarding IATF regulations set by the DILG
  • slow, inaccessible, and inadequate testing and much slower and poor contact tracing efforts being conducted at the local level
  • inconducive and congested isolation and quarantine facilities of the LGUs
  • lack of personal protective equipment of health workers, security, monitoring staff, etc.

Total COID-19 cases in the region as of this writing is 15,155 with a total active cases of 5,106. Total number of deaths due to COID-19 is already 488.

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The letter of the medical groups is also grounded on the programs of local government units that attempt to circumvent IATF regulations just to pursue the political agenda of politicians interested to run for public positions in 2022. It can be recalled that the region was highlighted in the map when Sorsogon politicians started roaming around the province to introduce themselves to the people in the guise of COVID-19 information caravan and created a ruckus in the Municipality of Irosin. A member of the provincial information caravan, Provincial Board Member Ed Atutubo, was said to have thrown a glass of water to a municipal official who was just asking the logic of the program. Atutubo was also caught in a video punching Irosin Municipal Administrator Inso Ubalde over the issue of the caravan.

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