We said it before, and we’re saying it again: There’s no stopping the Filipino Christmas of family reunions, hearty banquets, and the child-like itch to go out and inhale the festive holiday air.
The only problem here is when everybody is thinking of the same thing.
With a teeming mass of people out in the streets, parks, malls, and other public places, a great number of them are bound to let their guard down and ignore minimum personal safety precautions.
The potential post-holiday outcome would be a dreaded spike in Covid-19 infection.
We do not want to play the party spoiler here, but we have to fully agree with and strongly support Sen. Imee Marcos in her call for the government to prepare for a possible spike in Covid-19 cases after Christmas, even as community quarantines remain in place.
Marcos said the public’s “quarantine fatigue” amid muted festivity this Christmas could swell infection rates that remained “significantly high” at the end of November, particularly in Metro Manila, Batangas, Iloilo City, Bacolod City, Tacloban City, Iligan City, and Lanao del Sur.
“Let’s already settle what contact-tracing system should be put in place, contingency measures in hospitals if critical levels are reached, coping mechanisms that can be devolved to local government units,” she said.
“We are likely to remain in a public health emergency until next year, yet Bayanihan 2 is already due to expire when Congress adjourns next week,” she pointed out.
The lady lawmaker reiterated her call in Senate Bill 1921 to extend until Dec. 31, 2021 the President’s stand-by powers under the Bayanihan To Recover As One Act to deal with the pandemic.
“Now that the bicam has agreed on a most difficult national budget, we now need to extend Bayanihan 2,” she asserted.
She noted that the P10 billion allotted for vaccine procurement in Bayanihan 2 would augment the limited P2.5-billion outlay programmed in the 2021 national budget.
“The bulk of the P72.5 billion in next year’s budget for vaccine procurement, storage, and delivery are unprogrammed funds that may or may not come, depending on what excess revenue the government can generate,” Marcos explained.
She added that a spike in the country’s infection rate come the New Year may again lead to stricter quarantine restrictions, slow down business, and make revenue generation a real challenge.
Meanwhile, a total of 273 individuals have recovered from the coronavirus disease 2019 on Friday, according to the Department of Health.
In its daily Covid-19 bulletin, the DoH said this brings the country’s total recoveries to 409,329 or 91.6 percent of all Covid-19 cases in the country.
Some 1,504 new infections were also recorded, with the country’s active cases now at 29,001 or 6.5 percent of all Covid-19 cases.
Of the new cases, it said Davao City reported the most with 122, followed by Rizal province with 85, Quezon City with 80, the City of Santiago with 67, and Bulacan with 64.
Of the active cases, 85.8 percent are showing mild symptoms, the asymptomatic at 6.7 percent, those in critical condition at 4.8 percent, those with severe symptoms at 2.4 percent, and those with moderate symptoms at 0.25 percent.
Eight new deaths were attributed to Covid-19, with the country’s casualty against the disease totaling 8,709 or 1.95 percent of all cases.
Many of the country’s health facilities remain open to those infected, with 58 percent of the country’s 1,900 beds at intensive care units currently available, 61 percent of 13,500 isolation beds unoccupied, 73 percent of 5,900 ward beds unoccupied, and 80 percent of 2,000 ventilators are not in use.