As expected and in any undertaking, there would always be issues especially for something that the world has never seen before.
And in the case of Metro Manila’s community quarantine, among the problems that came out were traffic congestion, defective thermal scanners, no face masks, and social distancing issues among others.
How to Address these Issues
- Traffic. The problem with this issue is that it has been a concern even before COVID-19 surfaced on this planet. So, if it was not solved back then, it would either be harder to solve now that there’s a threat like the coronavirus – or with “sustained effort” on the part of the police and travelers, this 5-hour endurance (WARNING: Traffic would definitely contribute to spreading the virus) by commuters and motorists would be cut into half or even a tenth of the time. For that to happen, consider the following: (a) Provincial buses should only ply up to Metro Manila borders. (b) Companies apply a 6-hour daily work schedule. To maximize productivity, companies should focus on results not work hours. (c) The whole Metro Manila should apply an every 30-minute bus and jeepney schedule at designated bus stops. (d) Companies in the whole metropolis should work on and agree on a sequenced 6-hour work schedule. Like, companies located in this area are to have an 8-3PM schedule while companies located on that area will have an 8:30-3:30PM sked and companies near checkpoints should open office from 9-4PM and so on. This way, the roads would not congest with employees going off work at the same time. (e) If an employee lives within 5 kilometers from his office, do not ride but just walk. If he lives farther, get off the bus at least 300 meters before his office. This way, these employees not only give drivers a chance to pick up other passengers but they keep fit.
- Social Distancing. It would be hard to apply this on buses and jeepneys especially since drivers would naturally want more passengers while the latter are rushing to work. However, this only needs cooperation and discipline to make social distancing successful. (a) Employees should not leave their homes at the 11th hour. (b) All buses and jeepneys should have a “conductor.” These conductors would make sure that proper spacing is done in public transportations by stopping the passengers from riding when the bus or jeepney is already fully and properly spaced out. Violators should be penalized.
- Defective Thermal Scanners. First, these products should be tested before being officially used. Second, if they were functioning before they got damaged, then it’s just about handling – be gentle. Third, checkpoints should have a charging area for thermal scanners that are low batt. You could even convert a “car battery” into a charger that every checkpoint should have.
- No Face Mask. While n95 are the ideal mask, it’s only for medical workers as even disposable surgical masks (which is commonly used by the world) are out of supply. Then again, haven’t you heard that old bras could even be used as a face mask? Okay, using such could be embarrassing for the police – then use an improvised face mask made of cloth or something. The difference between a medical mask and an improvised face mask lies in its filtering properties. Being made of cloth, respiratory particles that were caught by it could still be there; thus, increase your protection by adding a perforation of 3 plies of tissue between your nose-mouth area and mask. Just change your tissue every hour or so since you are heavily exposed to people.
The battle against COVID-19 is very winnable. All it takes is sustained effort – and discipline.