Covid-19, the virus caused by the SARS-CoV-2 or the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, is a highly contagious disease. From Wuhan, China where it first erupted late in 2019, it now has affected several countries around the globe.
In the Philippines, the country’s Department of Health reported the first case of Covid-19 infection on January 30, 2020. The victim was a 38-year old female from China. By March 7, the agency reported that there was already a local transmission of the dreaded disease.
Rapid Progress #Covid-19
Since the report of the first local transmission of Covid-19, the number of infected persons, persons under investigation (PUIs) and persons under monitoring (PUMs) increased rapidly.
On March 9, Metro Manila in Luzon was placed under State of Public Health Emergency. By March 12, Metro Manila or the National Capital Region imposed social distancing for at least 30 days, suspended classes in all levels and prohibited mass gatherings. Flexible working hours were encouraged while others were allowed to work from home. Selected areas were placed on community quarantine as the number of infected people rose. Some of the people infected did not have travel histories or contact with a person infected with Covid-19.
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire island of Luzon on enhanced community quarantine on March 16. The quarantine will last until April 12, Easter Sunday. Several provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao, are placing their areas on community quarantine, as well.
The Front Liners
The front liners are the people who have to work during the crisis. They are the ones who meet people several times a day.
Establishments all over Luzon were closed. Allowed to remain open during the enhanced community quarantine with skeleton workforce are businesses providing basic necessities, such as banks, supermarkets, groceries, convenience stores, medical clinics, hospitals, drug stores and pharmacies, water refilling stations, select restaurants, public markets, money transfer services, water, energy, power and telecommunications facilities and supplies, and food preparation and delivery services.
Select offices of the executive branch maintain skeleton force as well. Bureau directors, assistant secretaries, undersecretaries and secretaries must report for work.
On the streets are the uniformed personnel from the different branches of the military and the police, who operate border checkpoints and regulate human and vehicular traffic caused by the crisis.
The uniformed personnel check IDs and passes, since only cargo trucks delivering essential goods, are allowed to cross borders. They take the temperature of each person crossing borders and checkpoints.
In public and private hospitals and other medical facilities are the health workers. They are some of the most overworked front liners – checking, admitting and caring for the sick, especially those showing symptoms of Covid-19 infection. It is also important to mention the other service providers, including the cleaning and sanitation staff.
Day-to-day some of the rules regarding the enforced home quarantine are amended and updated, depending on the situation, including some exemptions on the travel ban. But what’s constant is that medical personnel, Department of Health employees, health workers and volunteers of the World Health Organization and the Philippine Red Cross continue to work.
Diplomats and foreign mission representatives and some of the staff members are required to perform their tasks.
Cargo drivers and farmers delivering basic essentials, such as foodstuff, raw materials and related items from different provinces, although they should have the required IDs and passes.
To keep the nation informed, media personnel are allowed to travel to get news and updates from different locations. They are to secure a Presidential Communications Operations Office special pass so they can report what’s happening in different areas.
Management of exempted companies such as business processes outsourcing and companies engaged in export industries are requested to provide their workers with temporary accommodation to limit their travel. Likewise, some hotels with existing international bookings are allowed to have a skeleton staff.
Out of this list of front liners, Filipinos salute the health workers in the private and public hospitals, clinics, testing facilities, and other healthcare facilities. They report for work each day, spending long hours at work, making do with the tools and equipment that are available, because different protective equipment is getting scarce. While the government provides support, including free transportation and temporary accommodation, and individuals and organizations send donations of food and drinks, nothing can alleviate the risk they face every minute they are at work. Mental and physical fatigue can lower their immunity, putting them more at risk while meeting and checking up sick people. The dwindling supply of facemasks and personal protective equipment does not help matters.
It is sad that many people are suffering due to the virus worldwide, and it’s doubly sad when you hear of medical practitioners succumbing to Covid-19. The Philippines lost nine prominent doctors due to their constant exposure to patients infected with the disease. We pray that the number will not increase.
The situation is similar to what’s happening in many parts of the world, where the number of infected individuals continues to rise.
To everyone, please heed the warnings and follow the guidelines, as prevention is the key to flatten the curve. Please observe personal (or social) distancing, stay at home and wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Use hand sanitizers with alcohol content or spray your hands with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol if soap and water is not readily available.
Tie a Red Ribbon
In the Philippines, Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire of the Department of Health is encouraging everyone to tie a red ribbon, which represents love.
Tie a red ribbon for the front liners – on your car, trees, gates, bags, caps, and anywhere it is allowed.
The virus can attack anyone, rich or poor. It does not recognize geographical boundaries and differences in culture and language. Let us unite and show our support to all front liners fighting to suppress Covid-19 worldwide. Show them love. Tie a red ribbon for them today!
Let Us Emulate What They Have Started
Here’s our call here at eTranslation Services. Let us salute and support the brave front liners in the fight against Covid-19.
Tie a red ribbon for the front liners to show them our love, gratitude and support
– no matter what part of the world we are, no matter what language we speak.
Image Copyright: Sgt. Leia Tascarini / Public domain