Did you notice the high volume of vehicles on SLEX and EDSA in the last couple of days?
Despite an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in place to curb the spread of SARS-CoV-2 by banning non-essential travel, many vehicles took to the streets. According to sources there were even vehicles that had more than just the driver/quarantine pass holder inside.
Yes, the government noticed too. That was made clear by the newly-reinstated Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a press briefing earlier today.
The warning was loud and clear: if citizens do not take the ECQ seriously, the government could consider more amendments to the ECQ in the form of an extension or even a total lockdown.
“Huwag na po nating pahabain pa ang ECQ. Tumupad na po tayo sa ating obligasyon, at kaunting panahon na lang po ang natitira dito sa ating ECQ. Pero kapag hindi po natin napa-flatten ang curve hindi po natin nabawasan ang kaso ng COVID-19, isa po iyan sa option na kinokonsidera.” said Roque.
[Let's not extend the ECQ any further. We have to fulfill our obligation, and we have only a short time left in our ECQ. But if we do not flatten the curve and we do not reduce the amount of COVID-19 cases, that is one of the options to consider.]
Roque stressed that the government hasn't made a decision on a total lockdown yet, addressing the many fake news that stemmed from alleged insider information.
“Pero uulitin ko po, wala pa pong desisyon na mag-total lockdown.” said Roque.
[But I repeat, no decision has yet been made for the total lock-down]
With the country now having the most number of confirmed cases in the ASEAN region, Roque said that the government is asking everyone to park their cars and stay home in order to reduce the number of infections in the country. He even emphasized that it was embarrassing to see traffic on SLEX even with the ECQ in place.
“Ang dami pong pasaway sa atin. At dahil po diyan, number 1 na naman po tayo sa ASEAN sa dami ng COVID-19. Nakakahiya po iyan, itigil niyo na ang pagiging pasaway. Manatili po kayo sa inyong tahanan,” added Roque.
[There are so many stubborn people. And because of that, we are again number one in ASEAN for having the most number of COVID-19 cases. This is embarrassing, you should all stop being so stubborn. Please stay at home]
Just yesterday, netizens and the media reported a high number of vehicular traffic along EDSA, South Luzon Expressway, and other major roadways. There was also a high volume of individuals in public places such as Blumentrit Market and Divisoria, many of which were not following social distancing measures.
With just a few weeks left to go before the lifting of the ECQ, many are still wondering whether the government will extend it or take steps to lift the quarantine gradually. The decision, as made clear by the IATF and the Presidential Spokesperson, will depend on the rate of increase of confirmed cases.
One thing is for sure though: if people continue to go out of their homes for non-essential matters, the Luzon-wide quarantine may get more drastic.
So do yourself (and all of us) a favor: stay home and follow the guidelines of the ECQ.