By Joshua Corcuera
On New Year’s Eve, news outlets reported that a certain person went home from the United States without following protocols upon arrival. Additionally, that certain person—which I decide not to name specifically in this column—attended a party without knowing whether she is positive or not of COVID-19. She turned out positive.
It was the Tourism Secretary, who was quoted by prominent news outlets, who shared such information. “She told her friends na she had connections daw kaya she could cut quarantine,” Secretary Romulo-Puyat said. “On her fifth day, bumalik sa hotel, nagpa-swab, nag-positive. Tapos ‘yung mga ibang nakasama niya, nag-positive din. In fact, ‘yung mga establishment, nag-positive din sila doon. Ang daming nag-positive because of the girl,” the Secretary shared on an interview with news outlet One PH.
(She told her friends that she had connections which is why she could cut quarantine. On her fifth day, she returned to the hotel, took a swab test, and turned out positive. Then, her companions also tested positive. In fact, those in the establishment she went to also turned out positive. Many tested positive because of the girl.)
That news broke around noontime. By afternoon, almost 3,000 COVID-19 cases were reported—the highest in several weeks. Likewise, the government placed Metro Manila under Alert Level 3 from January 3 to 15, 2022, amid the threat of the Omicron variant. As a result, face-to-face classes are prohibited once again here in the nation’s capital region.
Unsurprisingly, many people on social media did not like the announcement. Many said that lockdowns will cause great suffering as far as making ends meet is concerned. Others claimed that certain people are profiting from lockdowns. Still, there are some who are not surprised at all with someone arguing that many people went outdoors these past few weeks causing a rise in cases.
Although the country has made remarkable progress in its vaccination campaign, it is inevitable that setbacks—like what we witnessed on New Year’s Eve—would occur. Despite setbacks, we must remain hopeful. Despite being pulled backwards, we need to carry on, to keep on fighting. Thus, it is important to be mindful of wearing face masks and distancing physically if possible. And stay at home, if possible, unless you really need to get outside for your own good such as going to work and the like.
This 2022, we will continue to face challenges—both old ones such as the pandemic, and new ones. We dealt with storms last year, such as Odette battling the Visayas and Mindanao a few days before Christmas. It is reasonable to expect similar disasters to occur this year, especially that climate change is causing an increase in strong typhoons.
Yet, we must remain strong, hopeful, and positive so that we can live our lives easier, better, and prouder. We can only move forward if we first be hopeful of tomorrow and work hard towards that bright goal. This coming 2022, we would face new challenges and we would celebrate new victories. Panibagong mga pagsubok, panibagong mga tagumpay.
More importantly, we must avoid 2022 from getting worse compared to the past few years—especially 2020 where the pandemic changed the world for the worse. Let us do our part and be careful and compassionate in our actions so that 2022 will not be 2020 too.