Free mass testing should immediately follow lockdown

Farmers group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) insisted again that without free mass testing, lockdowns will be ineffective. KMP National Chairperson Danilo Ramos says that “while we recognize the merits of a so-called community quarantine to contain the spread of COVID-19 especially to depressed rural areas with almost to no health infrastructure, any measure with no immediate free mass testing is bound to fail.”

As of March 16, the DOH confirmed that there are 140 confirmed COVID19 cases out of more than 800 individuals tested. Twelve patients who tested positive with COVID19 already died due to various comorbidities. 

KMP also released on Saturday a 10-point “Urgent Calls and Response to Stop the Spread of COVID-19:”

  1. Provide free mass testings and screenings immediately, prioritizing highly vulnerable individuals and communities.
  2. Rechannel P4.5B discretionary and intelligence funds for COVID-19 response. 
  3. Hire and capacitate more doctors, nurses, other health workers, and mobilize socio-civic organizations and trained volunteers for COVID-19 response in hospitals and communities.
  4. Mobilize barangay health centers and setup satellite health centers for massive information dissemination, free screening, health evaluation and monitoring, and for the distribution of free hygiene and protective kits (face masks, soap, alcohol, etc.).
  5. Hold community-based health actions in all levels such as mass disinfection and sanitation, cleanup drives, information drives, etc.
  6. Prioritize public health in the allocation of budgets and other resources at all levels to address the needs of the most vulnerable. 
  7. Ensure the health and welfare especially of frontline health workers.
  8. Provide socio-economic support and subsidies for affected workers and employees, underemployed, and the poor.
  9. Ensure that basic commodities such as rice, food, medicines, etc., are accessible and affordable. Ensure the continuing service or rationing of water.
  10. Operate on a “social solidarity” framework ensuring the welfare of every citizen. Refrain from abusing coercive and restrictive measures against citizens. ###

(Featured image from Pinoy Weekly)

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