Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC) on Thursday urged the national government to fix "inadequacies" in its reporting system, which it uses as the basis for the new alert level system in Metro Manila.
Starting September 16, the metropolis was placed under a alert level 4 which, the health professionals noted in a statement, has less strict restrictions than the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).
The healthcare professionals said that the loosening of restrictions comes at a time when COVID-19 cases are surging and hospitals are at capacity or over—suggesting that "the proposed scheme, which claims to use pandemic severity and healthcare utilization data in deciding the alert level, does not reflect the true situation on the ground."
The group added that health facilities are "overwhelmed, resulting in patients dying unattended at home, in ambulances, or in corridors."
"We therefore strongly urge the government to acknowledge and address the inadequacies of our data reporting system that forms the basis for the alert levels," it said.
Instead of imposing only strict lockdowns, the HPAAC said, the government should focus on implementing integrated digital contact tracing, increased testing, appropriate compensation and recognition for healthcare workers, distribution of aid, enhanced vaccination, better coordination between facilities and government units, and improved air circulation in all facilities.
"We need these improvements to achieve longer relief from the pandemic," said HPAAC.
HPAAC also said the country and economy will survive the health crisis if there is coordination without throwing insults and making outbursts.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque previously scolded health workers, who are sacrificing their lives in treating COVID-19 patients, as shown in a leaked video from Philippine Daily Inquirer. Roque claimed the government is doing its part in containing the virus. — Consuelo Marquez/BM, GMA News