Beyond ECQ: Ramp up testing and tracing, hasten vaccination
Manila Bulletin|March 30, 2021
On the eve of the Holy Week observance, President Duterte placed Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the strictest quarantine status, from March 29 to April 4. This was prompted by a surge in COVID-19 infection: the number of new cases daily is inching toward the 10,000 marks. Four out of every five new cases are being reported in the NCR+ bubble area.

Initial feedback, as mirrored in social media tweets compiled by this paper, reflects disappointment on the part of the citizenry. Filipinos online vented their frustrations through the hashtags #DuterteResign and #DutertePalpak (“Duterte is a failure”). DuterteResign got at least 16,600 tweets on Saturday evening while the #DutertePalpak hashtag remained trending as of the morning of March 28 with at least 89,200 tweets.

While this may be far from being an unbiased snapshot of national sentiment, the government should quickly come to terms with what needs to be done to check the latest spike.

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