Social distancing big failure in checkpoints


    SOCIAL distancing, the measure health officials have recommended to slow down the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), is proving to be a big failure in checkpoints in and around Metro Manila.

    Reports in regular and social media showed big crowds forming in checkpoints as police check the identification of persons trying to enter Metro Manila and check their temperatures using thermal scanners.

    The Department of Interior and Local Government called the implementation of the community quarantine in the metropolis as a “nightmare.”

    The second day of the implementation of the 30-day quarantine, a work day, was marred by long lines at checkpoints as policemen and soldiers checked commuters for COVID-19 symptoms.

    Thousands, presumably workers who are allowed to go in and out of Metro Manila, were also stranded in the streets due to lack of public transport.

    People in the metropolis tried to practice social distancing, with MRT and LRT passengers keeping a safe distance away from each other.

    Sen. Francis Pangilinan, meanwhile, urged the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to review and improve its protocols on social distancing after it was observed that people stranded in transportation terminals were not actually practicing social distancing.

    Pangilinan said the same was observed in police and military checkpoints.

    Reports said social distancing was imposed on some public transport like the LRT and MRT but people queuing in line to reach the train’s platforms were not of the safe distance of one meter apart.

    Even commuters waiting for a ride on the streets were also closely standing with each other while waiting for a ride. The same happened on public utility buses and jeepneys.

    “We need clear guidelines on social distancing for our millions of daily commuters,” Pangilinan said.

    Pangilinan said checkpoints should have adequate number of thermal scanners and protective gear for public servants, soldiers, and policemen assigned at checkpoints.

    PSG Commander Colonel Jesus Durante III said “several measures are being implemented by the PSG to protect President Duterte and the first family from COVID-19.

    Among the measures implemented by the PSG include the creation of PSG Task Force COVID-19 which shall ensure the implementation of the “no touch policy” which include observing a 10-meter distance between the President and his audience during public events, and a six-feet or two-meter distance between Duterte and his guests during private meetings.

    The PSG also organized medical teams and established quarantine sites within the Malacañang Complex to attend to suspected COVID cases. – With Jocelyn Montemayor, Noel Talacay