Batangas province, which is some 80 kilometers south of Metro Manila, is fast shaping up to be the nation’s next Covid19 epicenter due to the failure of local provincial officials to strictly enforce prescribed safety protocols designed to curb the spread of the virus.
Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force Against Covid19, said the recent spike in infections in Batangas can be attributed to the laxity in the observance of proper home quarantine procedures.
Galvez said home quarantine in Batangas is actually a useless exercise as there is a tendency among those who’re supposed to be isolating to violate health protocols – particularly social distancing, thereby infecting others.
The spike in Covid cases connected with defective home quarantine was observed previously in Cebu City, Navotas City and Valenzuela City, but this has since been adequately addressed by Mayors Ed Labella, Toby Tiangco and Rex Gatchalian, respectively.
Citing a report from the Batangas provincial health office, he noted that 2,004 of their total active cases of 2,612 (or some 77 percent) are still staying in their domiciles, which is very risky.
And if the proper reforms aren’t carried out soonest, he said the province could see a spike of epic proportions that could render all their hard-earned gains during the past months negligible.
Adding to the headaches is the admission of Batangas health officer Dr. Rosvilinda Ozeta that this prosperous province of 3 million people doesn’t even have its own molecular laboratory, which is why they still have to rely on the Department of Health’s Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Manila to process their Covid tests numbering in the hundreds of thousands.
As a result, Galvez said he is recommending that the prevailing home quarantine policy be scrapped entirely so that all infected individuals can be brought to the proper isolation facilities where they can be closely monitored and treated by qualified professionals.
Various health experts are saying the local government must ensure the Covid situation doesn’t get out of control as Batangas is one of the biggest industrial hubs (with many economic zones and power generating plants) that contributes hugely to the country’s GDP.