March 15 will mark one year since Metro Manila and its 12 million inhabitants were placed under community quarantine in an effort to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. Little did we know then that the country would hold the record for enduring the longest lockdown in the entire world.
Almost a year after the quarantine was imposed, Covid-19 vaccines have arrived in the country and vaccinations have started, with medical workers and other frontliners getting first priority. Elsewhere, Israel’s medical inoculation drive — considered the fastest of its kind in the world — already reached 50 percent of its nine-million population and is touted to help alter the trajectory of the pandemic.
It will take some time before all Filipinos gets vaccinated. Challenges in storage and distribution will most certainly come up. Add to this is the fact the government and private sector will work hand in hand to reopen the economy. This requires balance because although we need to prevent the economy from declining further, we also need to remain vigilant as the number of coronavirus cases is surging again.
There are many ways we can do our part, not only as part of business organizations, but also as individuals. Our behavior is not exactly pandemic-friendly, as we are truly sociable, and with the quarantine still in place, socializing is tricky. Some establishments may be reopening for business, but this should not give us a reason to become complacent. In fact, we should remain on our toes all the more. I know it is challenging for many of us to remain under quarantine, and it really has become exhausting, but it is essential to know and understand that working together would help us get through this until every Filipino is inoculated. This may last for a few more years, depending on the government’s vaccine procurement process.
As the first anniversary of the quarantine’s imposition approaches, here are ways we can continue to do our part:
– Stick to your virtual/digital behavior. Purchasing items, ordering food and organizing meetings, among many others — these can still be done and sustained online.
– Prioritize, and prioritize well. If you really have to go out, observe all the necessary safety protocols and keep your distance. Avoid congregating in large crowds. Remember, with new coronavirus variants already in the country, it is now easier to get infected.
– Get tested regularly. Companies have this done regularly to their employees, especially if their job requires face-to-face engagements.
– Support local businesses. Arguably, the best way we can help our nation while dealing with the pandemic is to support local businesses in all ways as much as possible. Think about it.
– Eat well. At the end of the day, eating well and taking care of ourselves would be our first line of defense against the coronavirus,
Happy quarantine anniversary to my fellow Filipinos in Metro Manila. Let us see how the second year will pan out. God bless us all.
Kay Calpo Lugtu is the chief operating officer of Hungry Workhorse, a digital and culture transformation firm. Her advocacies include nation-building, sustainability education and financial literacy. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.