Expansion of healthcare facilities, manpower urged

Employers are encouraging more workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) while the country augments the healthcare facilities and its manpower to further reopen the economy even as it grapples with a coronavirus surge.

Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) president Sergio Ortiz-Luis said there is no law stipulating the proposed “no jab, no work” policy.

“My personal opinion is, as an employer, priorities should be set by employers to determine the qualifications of workers. But perhaps it is not fair and I personal feel it (policy) is ‘discriminatory’ unless there is a law that says (otherwise),” he said in mixed English and Filipino.

Ortiz-Luis, also president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc.(PHILEXPORT), said hundreds of thousands of Filipinos need to work.

“They (authorities) just need to add hospital rooms, doctors, and nurses so that if there is a spike (in Covid-19 cases), we will not be overwhelmed. That’s the solution, and not by preventing people from working,” he added.

Ortiz-Luis said a study indicates that both the vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals can transmit and also get the coronavirus.

He said rather than compelling those hesitant to get a shot, the country needs to ramp up its vaccination drive as more Filipinos are willing to get inoculated against Covid-19 especially as the vaccine efficacy is observed through up to six months only.

As of January 18, the country has administered 120.6 million doses and fully vaccinated over 56 million people.

“Why do we risk our lives to Covid? Before, it was health against the economy. Now, it is Covid against health and other sickness plus mental health, livelihood and criminality. There is no balance,” he added.

Ortiz-Luis also cited Singapore where 86 percent of its total population has been vaccinated yet it reported an increase in Covid-19 cases.

With this situation, he said Singapore decided to just “learn how to live with the virus”, expand the capacity of its hospitals and treatment facilities, scale-up medication for coronavirus, and open up the economy.

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