Be ready for the long haul in the battle vs COVID-19
The good news is there is only one person in the Cordillera confirmed positive with COVID-19. And he is from Abra. All the others are either under observation or monitoring. There is a high probability though that the city will have positive cases as confrimation of tests are being awaited.
The bad news is we have to be ready for the long haul. Asked by this writer on his gut feel as to how long will we be able to overcome the COVID-19 problem, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said in a press conference called by him last March 17, 2019 said that the worst has yet to come. He then went on to say that Wuhan, China took all of three months to win the battle against the disease. But Wuhan is high tech and a lot more efficient in implementing lockdown rules. Now they are dismantling makeshift hospitals put up for COVID-19 patients. They have no patients anymore.
Our semi lockdown rules took the public by storm. Almost everybody was unprepared. Many panicked and rushed to grocery stores to empty shelves despite assurance from authorities not to fret for there was enough supply, and supply routes were open. Yet in a day or two ethyl alcohol could not be found on store shelves. After about a day, the shelves were being refilled.
Drugstores closed at night, even those who used to operate 24/7. Some people needing medications in the middle of the night had to wait for daylight. Taken to task on this, the city mayor assured he will convince some drugstores to be open 24/7.
Restaurants were closed for diners but one could order for take-out. Eventually though, these will also be ordered totally closed.
Since public transport was not allowed, some jeepney trips to town, particularly to the public market, were coordinated with the barangay officials. Passengers had to pay double the usual fares because only 50% capacity was allowed to facilitate social distancing. The public market was open from 4:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Only one person per family was supposed to be allowed to go out to buy necessities, but this was not strictly enforced the past few days. It will soon be. There are exemptions though such as those on the frontlines of the battle like the health workers, law enforcers, the media, and those who fill the skeletal force of government and some private firms like the staff or personnel of grocery stores and drugstores.
In the first few days, Baguio became a wholesome city, like the way it was in the 1960s. There were few people on sidewalks, unlike the new normal where it is a struggle going from point A to point B in town as the walkways are always crowded, especially the overpasses.
As big proof though of how undisciplined we are, illegally parked vehicles suddenly appeared everywhere, taking advantage of the absence of law enforcers who were out there manning the checkpoints. The policemen manning check points were wearing masks and were courteous enough. They not only asked where you were going to the city and would not be allowed if your business is not allowed under the semi lockdown rules. They are armed with temperature scanners they point to your forehead. If you had a fever your were brought to the hospital as you could be harboring the dangerous virus.
It is now difficult to identify people you meet on the streets because, in accordance with the rules, everybody is now wearing a surgical face mask or an improvised variety—due to lack of supply. Officials assured importation or manufacturing of these were being fast tracked so there would be enough in the coming days to satisfy the need.
These are a glimpse of how the semi lock down was the past few days. These serve as notice to the public on how to prepare for the long haul, for the virus is deadly and intractable. Its favorite victims are the elderly and those already suffering from medical conditions.** APP