With the continued rise of coronavirus infections globally and a COVID-19 vaccine still nowhere in sight, governments just have to do what they can to contain its spread…
Either through lockdowns or “aggressive” testing. But for this article, we are to focus on lockdowns or Metro Manila’s community quarantine.
As we know, lockdowns control people’s movement within a restricted area while quarantine is simply the separation or restriction of people who might have been exposed to a contagious disease to determine if they are infected – just like what you see when you travel nowadays.
In both cases, it’s either imposed in the whole country or just a certain locality.
So with that, what could actually make a lockdown or community quarantine fail?
- Sustainable Effort. Many times, hopefully not in this case, governments just could not sustain the work. Let’s face it, it’s just tedious. Imagine you have to check temperatures of hundreds or thousands of motorists or people on designated checkpoints and areas for, say, 30 days. At first, the energy and even enthusiasm is naturally there but after a week or so, things could become relaxed.
- Corruption. And when those on the job gets kind of tired or complacent, these guys could become open to bribery or something. Like, if a symptomatic person or businessman is worried of missing out on a big deal, he could try to bribe those at the “control point” to let him slide and just get treated or quarantined right after his deal. This could happen, like, in all entry or exit points whether land, sea or air travel. No land, air and sea travel means “no land, air and sea travel” whether you are a passenger – or a shipping or airline company.
- Questionable Quarantine Areas. Choice of designated quarantine sites is crucial, else, you could still spread the virus. It should not be in residential or commercial areas or where foot traffic is high. It should be as isolated as possible. And if possible, those infected should be in a designated island for treatment. This is not discriminating the sick but controlling the chances of spreading COVID-19 until they get well, so life still goes on for the healthy.
- Lack of Health Workers. COVID-19 is a pandemic and we are still human regardless if one is a medical professional or not. This situation could overwhelm these health workers emotionally, mentally and physically. So, what are the chances that a health worker could underperform? Say, a hundred patients and only two nurses, a medical technologist and a doctor. See?
- Lack of Medical Supplies. Or other necessary supplies, medicine and equipments as well. After all, even the United States has issues with their testing kits. Thus, testing supplies among others should be adequate, distributed equally and replenished in a timely manner regardless if the hospital is renown or not, but depending on their need. Government and the health industry should act in unison – with one objective – to eliminate COVID-19. Pharmaceutical companies (and any entity who could gain in any way) should not take advantage of the situation.
- Improperly trained Disinfecting Personnel. In its simplest form, just think of this as painting a house. Paint equally with the right formula and do not overpaint one area unless you need to highlight it or so. In this case, be methodical and do not overdo or undercut your spraying or disinfecting methods. Leave no stone unturned with priority on the most vulnerable areas and places regardless of who frequents the building or locale.
- Lack of Discipline. Social distancing should truly be observed, wherever. Large gatherings should be cancelled. Same goes with panic-buying. More than crowd containment, hoarding rules should be strictly implemented between customers and the store regardless if the customer is rich or a celebrity. Such people would just create an imbalance in supplies as they leave little for others. More so, panic-buying only overwhelms the store where others could slip unnoticed and open up to unsuspected viral infection. Another case would be for youngsters just being carefree and unknowingly become a carrier of the virus. So is an employee trying to get to office or continue working even if he suddenly feels sick. See, those residing outside the restricted area are more dangerous than those inside the quarantine zone as they could become carriers of the virus to another locality. Thus, they should really be monitored.
In all, while we can expect the coronavirus cases to increase in lockdown or quarantine areas (for being some kind of an epicenter), so long as the above factors are addressed – containment is going to be successful.