Faced with a dramatic surge in corona infection cases in the Philippines, dozens of medical associations have called on the government to withdraw easing from the curfew. “We’re about to lose the fight against Covid-19 and need to develop a strong and determined plan of action,” said a letter from 80 medical associations to President Rodrigo Duterte, released on Saturday. The health authorities have meanwhile reported a new infection record with almost 5000 new infections.
“Healthcare workers stand together to send an SOS signal to the nation: Our health system is overwhelmed,” the letter said. The 80 medical associations, which represent a total of tens of thousands of doctors, demanded the reintroduction of curfews in the capital Manila and surrounding provinces by August 15. This would give the country time to “refine our pandemic control strategy”.
The signatory organizations confirmed that the authorities had “terrible failure” in tracking the contacts of those infected with the coronavirus. The situation in public transport and at many workplaces is also uncertain. The developments could make Manila “the next New York City where Covid 19 patients die at home or on stretchers,” said Lei Alfonso of the Philippine Society of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians at a press conference.
In response to the open letter, Dutertes spokesman Harry Roque emphasized: “Your voices will be heard. We cannot afford to let our modern heroes down.”
According to the Philippine Ministry of Health, 34 health care workers have died as a result of corona infection since the pandemic began. By Saturday, the island nation had reported a total of more than 2,000 corona-related deaths and around 98,000 infections.
In March, Duterte had one of the world’s strictest curfews due to the pandemic. In view of the economic consequences of the lockdown, many restrictions have now been relaxed. The government blamed the non-compliance with hygiene rules for the drastic increase in infection cases.