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Metro Manila in world’s longest Covid lockdown

Republika

As part of international news outlet Al Jazeera’s Witness documentary showcase, a trip down memory lane was taken as the nation’s pandemic situation was recently highlighted.


Following the life of electronics repair expert Lito and his family as Covid19 and the subsequent lockdowns enveloped the Philippines, one is given a window into the progression of hardship and struggle that hundreds of millions of Filipinos face up to this day.


Being unable to work, as a myriad of people were and still are, unable to, the repair person had to take apart personal electronics to sell off as scrap parts, and rely on their mango tree, to scrape by enough for miniscule meals a day; not living but barely surviving as they feared either dying from the virus or hunger.


Early on in the documentary, he and his family also expressed their support for the national government, but as time passed, inefficiencies such as late cash aid and not enough relief goods for communities, began to shake that faith.


Perhaps adding insult to injury, and reaffirming this newfound distrust, over the course of the pandemic a bevy of controversies brought to light alleged irresponsible budget spending at time of great suffering for many.


From billions spent on dolomite sand for Manila Bay that was initially washed away by severe weather, to corruption reports in agencies such as the Department of Health (DOH), and a total of P18.4 billion in unspent pandemic response funds expiring early this year, there has been much dismay with the performance of national authorities.


Well over a year since President Rodrigo Duterte refused to impose a travel ban on countries that first reported cases of Covid19, and implemented what would be the globe’s longest running quarantine lockdown, the National Capital Region (NCR) is still far from out of the woods, but has progressed further, slightly easing up on quarantine rules and rolling out a vaccination program.


Movign from the original classifications of enhanced, modified enhanced, and general, community quarantine (ECQ, MECQ, GCQ) which saw rigid restrictions that prevented individuals such as Lito from working to earn a living, NCR now adheres to an Alert Level System.


Depending on the level, with 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest, certain establishments previously prohibited from operating such as personal services and indoor dining, may reopen provided their staff are fully vaccinated, among other guidelines.


Meanwhile, as of October 24, a total of 23.33% of the country’s total population have been fully jabbed against Covid19, though this is still a far cry from the targeted 70% necessary for herd immunity.


DOH’s report dated October 27 has set the number of active Covid19 infections in the country at 50,152, with the total number of cases recorded since March of last year, at 2,768,849.


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