‘Dose of new normal?’ Photo of crowded MRT station sparks COVID worries

February 24, 2022 - 6:31 PM
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Women avail of the free MRT ride at the MRT North Ave Station in Quezon City on Mondsy, March 8, 2021 in celebration of National Women's Month. (The STAR/Michael Varcas)

“Dose of new normal.”

This was the caption of one Reddit user who posted a photo on an online forum that showed a crowded train station in Metro Manila.

The user posted it on r/Philippines on Thursday, February 23.

“Daily dose of new normal PH,” the user wrote in the caption.

The image showed long lines of passengers at a platform of an MRT station.

Based on the angle captured, no physical distancing rules were observed among the passengers.

However, they were seen still wearing their face masks properly.

They were also orderly lined up in their respective lanes.

In the discussion section, one online user asked the uploader if MRT was overcrowded again.

The uploader responded “yes” despite still being in a pandemic.

“Yep, sardinas na ulit. Idk (I don’t know) pero parang may balak ata gumawa ng bagong variant gobyerno,” the Reddit user said.

One online user expressed worry on what would happen if the government decided to downgrade the alert level status to Alert Level 1, the most relaxed in the country’s COVID-19 alert level system.

“Goodluck kapag nagalert level 1 na at pagbumalik na ang mga nakaWFH,” the Reddit user said.

Others lamented on how most Filipinos seemed to be contented on the poor public transport system in the country.

“Parang hinahayaan na lang nilang ganito, parang sawa na silang lumaban para sa magandang sistema,” an online user said.

“Hindi sa hindi maatim, sinisikmura kasi walang ibang murang matinong masasakyan. Pagod na pagod na sa bulok na sistema pero mas malakas ang sigaw ng ikabubuhay ng pamilya,” another online user commented.

The Department of Health previously advised that the Alert Level 1 will be called the “new normal” moving forward.

Metro Manila, along with other parts of the country, is currently under Alert Level 2 until the end of February.

The Metro Manila Council recently recommended shifting to Alert Level 1, citing the decrease of COVID-19 cases in the daily tally.

“The resolution was already sent to the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) earlier today. The basis of the MMC to ease the restrictions in the region is to open up the economy to ensure job generation,” said Metropolitan Manila Development Authority officer-in-charge and General Manager Romando Artes.

The Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines (PHAPI), however, was not in favor of this proposal.

In a briefing, PHAPI president Jose Rene de Grano suggested observing the downward trend for another two weeks first.

“Ang recommendasyon namin, kung maaari maghintay tayo ng another two weeks  pero kung ‘yan ang decision ng IATF ay siguro susunod naman kami,” De Grano said.

He pointed out that people might disregard the observance of the mandated minimum health protocols amid the campaign season if they push through with the shift to Alert Level 1.

“Sa amin, worried kami baka after this, luwagan natin masyado at ‘yung mga tao hindi na sumunod sa minimum health protocols at baka bigla magkaroon uli ng surge. Baka kasi pag naging level 1, balewalain na nila itong pag-wear ng mask, social distancing. Delikado ‘yan lalo na sa sorties ng mga nagkakampanya,” he said.