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Rural Filipinos pay a price for ignoring COVID warnings | Coronavirus News Plague

Mindanao, Philippines – Gathered together, many without masks, screaming in unison to welcome the 2020 Christmas season. But the coronavirus that doctors had warned of did not materialize.

And as restrictions were eased slightly in January, tired people living in the southern Philippines, began heading to the beaches near the high-altitude parks.

Once again, there were no problems and some began to doubt whether the plague was real or just “making money”.

As the Philippine summer arrived in March, many were confident enough to carry public halls in towns and small towns to get government assistance, without ignoring social restrictions and enjoying a free lunch provided by the electorate.

Some mayors have even offered to reopen cockpit casinos, gambling magnets, and conventions. A few Catholic priests also encourage church members to attend Sunday services, though church attendance is less than half full.

In agricultural areas and fishing villages, citizens resume their habits – socializing, walking around the neighborhood or playing basketball and billiards – especially wireless.

By the time of the fiesta in April and May, many were celebrating visiting relatives and friends despite restrictions and threats of imprisonment and other penalties. With every town and village celebrating their white, the fun is repeated in the cohesive areas.

Health officials and police officers, usually from the same area, look out for drinks as they pass street corners and people bring out their favorite music, as it were. the second coronavirus in Manila and other urban areas were far away.

Outbreaks appear to be exacerbated during the crisis, with slow onset of seizures, which, according to experts, say the epidemic has spread to rural areas where hospitals are facing a greater problem.

“This is not the case in Visayas and Mindanao counties,” said Peter Cayton, a fellow professor at the University of the Philippines School of Statistics.

“This increase also affects many parts of Luzon,” he told Al Jazeera about the three island groups in the country.

About 1.5 percent of the 110 million people in the Philippines are fully immunized against the virus, according to a recent report from the Philippine Vaccine Tracker, and those connected with the government are unable to access the latest information. Hospitals are already retired and there is a shortage of medicines.

Across the country, more than 7,400 new cases were reported on Thursday, bringing the total number of infected people to 1.29 million.

Increasingly cases are increasing the number of deaths, and the southern regions are most affected.

Edson Guido, a data analyst at the University of the Philippines, said that since June 7, Mindanao has taken a quarter of new cases, more than Metro Manila, to show that the epidemic has spread to more remote urban areas. .

A dangerous sign

In Dipolog, a city on the southern island of Mindanao, people realized how difficult it was when two Catholic and nuns died just days after the end of May. He was buried promptly without many rites. One of the high priests lives alone, trying to cure an illness.

The former mayor and his brother from a nearby town were also admitted to a state hospital in the same city, as most people were being treated for coronavirus outside tents, or connected by oxygen tanks sitting in their cars, due to a lack of hospital beds. A 37-year-old patient died the same day her family discovered she had COVID-19.

Hundreds of other patients with mild, or undiagnosed, were advised to stay in a private home.

“COVID is real and it’s moving around our district,” Philip Limsi, a doctor at the only hospital in the city with anti-COVID weapons, wrote on television.

“Please, let us help reduce the number of cases. There are no more rooms and oxygen tanks are lacking, ”he said.

In the nearby city of Polanco, many government workers contracted the virus, disrupting town hall services.

The town administration met with questions after approving the gathering of hundreds of farmers and motorcyclists to receive government subsidies and food parcels despite the difficulties.

The city’s health authorities, Patrisha Quema, agreed to answer Al Jazeera’s questions about the epidemic, but later ignored subsequent requests for a response.

By the third week of May, the city and its main province of Zamboanga del Norte had already reported that their care beds were overcrowded and had no rest, according to data from the health department.

The district also saw dozens of young people – some as young as 16 – hospitalized, prompting government officials to announce their closure for two weeks from June 1.

The law also includes a ban on public drinking throughout the state. But on Wednesdays, some people still see them sharing drinks and drinks from the same glass, sharing them on the side of the road.

Explaining his concern over the increasing number of cases, the chief medical officer at Zamboanga del Norte, Dr Esmeralda Nadela, said he had just answered Al Jazeera’s questions “sometime”.

Despite a law banning public gatherings, Polanco city officials allowed hundreds of farmers and motorcyclists to gather at the gym to receive financial aid and government food on May 25 amid a growing number of COVID cases in the area. [Ted Regencia/Al Jazeera]

‘Rest in peace, Mother’

One of the victims of COVID was Rosalina Ocupe, a former high school teacher, who returned to her hometown of Polanco after a year of retirement in Chicago, United States.

As a distressed adult, he was careful not to go out while the plague was spreading. But as soon as she was 79 years old in early May, she became ill after a domestic worker became ill. He spent three weeks in the hospital in Dipolog on a ventilator.

His daughter, Patty, was expecting her mother to recover and return home in a few days. Instead, the couple received news Wednesday that their mother had died.

“Rest in peace, Mother,” Patty paid tribute to her mother, whose bodies were hastily buried at sunset on Wednesday, leaving the Philippine ritual for nine days before burial.

Patty’s sister, Marichu, who lives in Chicago, was unable to return home due to travel restrictions. With her mother’s death, she was left wondering if she could have done more for her mother.

“Did I do enough? [her] who prays day and night for me? This question remains [left] unanswered. ”

Randy, their brother, has died.

“[It is] it is sad, painful and unjust that COVID killed him, “he told Al Jazeera.

Outgoing south

Dipolog has not been the most devastating region of the region.

Approximately Dumaguete in the Visayas recorded a 206% increase between May 31 and June 6, elevating it to the top of the list of cities facing the risk of coronavirus nationwide.

As of Thursday, about 1.5% of the 110 million people in the Philippines have been fully vaccinated, according to the Philippine Vaccine Tracker [File: Ted Aljibe/AFP]

The recent deaths in the university town include a retired judge, whose wife is also battling the disease, and the city’s deputy mayor, Alan Cordova, who suffered a heart attack and died while riding his bicycle, just days after recovering from coronavirus.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Dr Kenneth Coo, a doctor and chair of Dumaguete’s state of affairs at the Philippine College of Physicians, said that although the city had closed its doors to foreigners in response to the storms, there was already “Public Broadcasting”.

“Most importantly, we need to stay away from dangerous situations,” he said, adding that all hospitals in Dumaguete were on the rise as they saw that the city’s infectious diseases had come from evening parties with family and friends.

“No parties, please. Please do not attend any of the meetings, it is my request to the village. ”

Several cities in Mindanao are facing threats such as South Cotabato, General Santos, and Davao City, where Duterte was mayor for more than 20 years. Among those killed recently was Davao del Sur provincial governor Douglas Cagas, who died Thursday.

At a third meeting Wednesday, the OCTA Research Group, which oversees coronavirus cases in the Philippines, said the national government should consider sending health workers and equipment to Mindanao.

RCTit Rye of OCTA warned that if the increase continues, hospitals could become exhausted.

“Our request to the state government is to allow us to send people, equipment, and support to these areas,” Rye said, adding that the operations could last up to a month.

Regarding Limsi, a medical doctor and medical professional, he asked people to stay home, adding, “Your birthday party is not worth the suffering that your guests may experience. [if they are infected with COVID]. ”

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