Coronavirus-free Zambo Sibugay to emerge from lockdown: Fears and prospects

Coronavirus-free Zambo Sibugay to emerge from lockdown: Fears and prospects

May 18, 2020 0 By Mindanao Sun
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By Antonio Manaytay

Zamboanga Sibugay appears to emerge from 76-day lockdown after May 31 with an unblemished record – zero case of coronavirus.

The province has 90 COVID-19 suspects as of May 16. Per latest bulletin from the provincial Task Force on COVID-19, eight of them have remained in public hospitals and five are in different quarantine facilities.

It is one of the two areas in Zamboanga Peninsula that has no record of a confirmed case of COVID-19.

The social media post of PIA Western Mindanao showed the regional statistics at a glance.

But the zero record could be deceiving. It appears so for most people.

Fears

Dr. Eric Cabayacruz, municipal health officer of Kabasalan town, pointed out in a meeting last month the province has not yet reached the peak of COVID-19 cases.

He urged Gov. Wilter Palma to conduct antibody rapid testing as a strategy, especially for the returning residents.

Rapid testing, he said, could help in early detection, contract tracing, and treatment.

Several residents have echoed similar call: mass testing.

There is no way to determine who are the coronavirus carriers of over 600,000 population of the province, they said.

As of this posting, the province has no capacity to conduct the rapid test for returning residents and mass testing for coronavirus.

Prospects

All is not dim, however.

Some countries have shown that it is possible to keep COVID-19 AT bay without the Draconian measure of lockdown.

Sweden, for example, did not join the bandwagon of locking down communities to fight the dreaded contagion.

Epidemiologist Michael Ryan, head of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, believed that Sweden can be a model “if we are to reach a normal situation.”

What Sweden did?

The Scandinavian nation, with a population of over 10 million, trusted in its “relationship with the citizens.” The citizens had reciprocated positively by obeying “social distancing and self-regulation.”

The approach against coronavirus should be evidence-based, which many countries had not performed poorly.

Ryan said there is almost no science in lockdowns, closing of borders, and social distancing.

But for over a hundred of years, he said, science has shown that frequent washing of hands with soap during epidemic helps.

Sweden has shown the world it is possible to drop off the COVID-19 radar without lockdown.

So, it could also be for the province. That is if the government can count on its relationship with the residents and their ability to reciprocate. (Mindanao Sun)

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