Substandard ECQ checkpoints?

A number of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) checkpoints in Negros Oriental were reported to be below the accepted standards.

Dr. Liland Estacion, provincial COVID-19 Incident Command System Commander, told reporters of her recent surprise “spot-check” of checkpoints in several undisclosed locations, as the province enters its second week of ECQ.

Estacion was disappointed to observe checkpoint personnel not practicing physical distancing; wearing of facemasks and gloves; and proper conduct of thermal scanning.

All of the checkpoints or control points had enough thermal scanners but were misused by personnel, placing everyone at risk of the spread of coronavirus disease.

The doctor was quick to correct the personnel whom she caught not properly using the thermal scanner. She explained its importance and demonstrated the correct use of the scan.

Estacion was also worried to witness motorists huddled at checkpoints to retrieve their IDs in exchange for a claim stab.

There were also no alcohol or sanitizers in all the checkpoints she visited. She said there should be disinfectants readily available both for checkpoint personnel and the public.

None were using personal protective equipment (PPE), which she noted is essential to protect checkpoint personnel who are also considered frontliners. There were also some who were not wearing proper identification.

Estacion has admitted that the provincial government has only enough PPE for their medical frontliners, which are also dwindling. They are constantly resupplying but there’s a high demand for PPE because of the current pandemic.

Estacion encourage Local Government Units (LGU) to purchase PPE for their respective checkpoint personnel, especially that the ECQ has been extended till the end of the month.

She said it would take time if LGUs would rely on PPE coming from the provincial government. “Personnel without proper PPE should not be allowed at checkpoints,” she said in Bisaya.

The provincial capitol is also considering buying thin raincoats as improvised PPE for checkpoint personnel. (By Ryan J. Sorote)