Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri fears that the government’s further easing of quarantine protocols will result in the increase of COVID-19 cases.

zubiri1 - Zubiri fears surge in COVID-19 cases due to easing of quarantine protocols
Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri

Zubiri, a COVID-19 survivor, raised the possibility on Saturday, Oct. 17, of a surge in coronavirus infections in the country after the Interagency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) issued a new resolution lifting the restrictions for non-essential outbound travels and beach volley tournament, horse racing and cockfighting activities.

It also allowed persons aged 15 to 65 years old to go out of their houses and enter malls and other commercial establishments.

“Alam mo, nakakatakot. Ako Patient 142 ako, isa ako sa mga nauna sa lahat nitong 300 plus thousand, halos 350,000 [na cases ngayon], nakakatakot talaga. Ang nakakatakot dyan baka mag-surge muli ang ating mga numero (You know, it’s frightening. I was Patient No. 142, I was among those who first got infected and one of the over 300,000 cases today, it’s really frightening. And what’s worrisome is that our numbers may surge again),” Zubiri told radio DWIZ in an interview on Saturday.

Zubiri noted that countries in Europe have experienced a second wave, or resurgence of the COVID-19 outbreak after they lifted lockdowns and eased their health protocols.

“Nakakatakot na mag-fully open tayo at this point in time,” he said.

While recognizing the need to revive jobs and economic activities, the Senate leader cautioned the government against fully reopening the economy.

He appealed to officials to acquire the first few supplies of COVID-19 vaccines once they are available, mentioning that some vaccine candidates were already in the third phase of clinical trials.

President Duterte earlier said COVID-19 vaccines from Russia are expected to arrive in April. He said he has secured the funding to purchase COVID-19 vaccines, with indigent families and beneficiaries of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), as well as security forces, as priority recipients of the immunization.

But Zubiri said senior citizens, children and immunocompromised persons should also be included in the first batch of those who will be vaccinated.

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