Militant lawmakers Bayan Muna party-list Representatives Carlos Zarate and Ferdinand Gaite slammed the administration’s “apparent lackadaisical approach and wrong priorities in immediately addressing the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) crisis.”

Zarate and Gaite, Makabayan lawmakers, said the slow government response “will only make the country and our people even more vulnerable to the dreaded virus.”

With the second nCOV case, and, the first death due to NCOV outside of China recorded in the Philippines, the slow response of the Duterte administration to this health emergency cannot simply be glossed over, Zarate said.

“The country is now placed at an even greater risk,” he said.

“The preemptive ban on flights coming from affected areas, particularly in China, was made only after the death of the victim. We have also received reports that surgical masks along with N95 masks are now out of stock or their prices have gone thru the roof. A surgical mask now cost P38 in big pharmacy in Commonwealth when it should be just P1-P5 per piece,” said the Davao-based solon.

“We also received reports that the male victim who died and his companion had been in the country for quite sometime, as part of a group tour. They stayed in a hotel in Manila prior to being hospitalized for suspicion of being nCoV infected,” Zarate said.

Gaite also scored the “belated decision of President Duterte to finally implement a temporary travel ban on all tourists coming from mainland China and its special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau amid the threat of the novel coronavirus.”

“As it is, more than 14,000 people have been reported infected worldwide after the first confirmed case of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) was identified in China less than a month ago and with 304 deaths now attributed to the disease,” Gaite said./STACY ANG

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