January 29, 2023

Conflicting policies and protocols during the pandemic

The recent celebrity party attended by the city mayor drew a lot of criticism. Apologies were made and fines were paid.
But some Baguio people still pointed out: “If fines are the penalty for a crime, then that law is only for the poor.”
The attendees claimed they all tested negative for the Covid-19 prior to their entry to the city and holding a party. Nevertheless, they were all condemned for not following health protocols. This begs the question – what use is PCR testing for gatherings if you are still going to be highly scrutinized and assumed to be infectious even if tested negative? Why are people who tested negative for Covid-19 still being made to undergo quarantine for five days?
The answer could be fears of false negative results despite the 40-cycle threshold RT-PCR tests.
“Sumunod ka na lang. Iyan kasi ang batas,” authorities say.
Surely, these executive orders and laws imposed on the citizens (that are meant to protect them) are definitely working to fight the pandemic, right?
The government says, “It is for your own safety and health” and “It is just following the guidelines of the World Health Organization” in justifying the restrictive measures for the general public.
This, however, leaves some citizens confused. For one, the WHO doesn’t recommend masks for children five years old or below but the government is urging everyone including those below five years old to wear face mask.
The WHO also recommends RT-PCR testing facilities to follow the manufacturer’s cycle threshold settings usually at 35 or below but our government has our test settings at 40 cycles.
Late last year, the WHO also stated it does not advocate lockdowns; but here we are again in another cycle of community quarantine.
Are these policies really about our health when you see the police berating vendors and small-business workers for not wearing faceshields – despite having no customers nor anyone near them within eight feet?
Businesses were ordered closed because their lone vendor was not wearing a face shield. That’s the law. The government knows what is best for us so they make laws requiring motorcycle barriers for same household passengers and laws requiring wearing face masks inside private cars.
Again, is this still about our health? — HONORARY PROF. CHATNOIR, Baguio City

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