Senator Sonny Angara on Sunday said the “first local transmission” of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the country did not come as too much of a surprise considering the number of people traveling in and out of the country regularly.
“What is important is that we are able to identify these cases, treat the infected and take all the necessary steps to prevent the disease from spreading,” Angara said.
“Kung ikukumpara pa din natin ang bilang ng kaso ng COVID-19 sa Pilipinas ay di hamak na mas maganda pa din ang kalagayan natin sa ibang bansa. Pero hindi ibig sabihin nito ay magiging complacent tayo dahil tulad ng nakita natin sa ibang lugar, mabilis ang pagkalat ng sakit na ito,” he added.
“Now is the time to be careful and vigilant, but don’t panic because there is no reason to do so,” he said.
Angara advised the Department of Health (DOH) to be very transparent in its reporting and for the appropriate agencies of government to take part in the dissemination of information regarding the COVID-19 cases, the ways to avoid catching the disease and the necessary public advisories on what to do and not to do and the places to avoid.
“Information is the most essential element in addressing the situation and preventing unwanted behavior and reactions. There is too much false information going around in social media so the government should constantly come out with its reports in all forms of media,” Angara said.
“Wag na natin hintayin na mag panic pa ang mga tao dahil sa may nabasang mali na ulat tungkol sa COVID-19. Ilabas lang natin ang lahat ng impormasyon at sabihin kung ano dapat ang gawin,” Angara added.
The DOH said the fifth confirmed case of the COVID-19 in the country is also the first case of local transmission.
It has since raised code red, sub-level 1 and recommended to the President to declare a state of public health emergency, which Health Secretary Francisco Duque III explained is “a preemptive call to ensure national and local government and public and private healthcare providers can prepare for possible increase in suspected and confirmed cases.”
Angara, who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, also urged the agencies concerned to declare any financial requirements that they need in the efforts to contain the disease.
“There are funds contained in the 2020 General Appropriations Act that can be tapped for this purpose and if these are not enough then the DOH should say so. Kami naman sa kongreso ay handa na kumilos para ibigay ito kung kinakailangan,” Angara said./Stacy Ang