It was in mid-March 2021 that the National Capital Region (NCR) began to experience a “serious increase” in Covid-19 infections.
On March 17, research group OCTA reported that there had been a 78% increase in the number of Covid-19 cases compared to the previous week. They said the reproduction number – the “R” – which is the number of people a positive Covid-19 can infect, in the region at the time was 1.96. The team said the goal was to bring ‘R’ below one to contain transmission of the virus.
At the end of March, the surge continued and affected even more people. Last October 2020, daily reported cases in the country were between 2,000 and 3,000, but this increased further when 12,576 new cases were reported on April 3, 2021.
This necessitated the reimposition of stricter lockdowns in the NCR and four other provinces (Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, Laguna) due to the upsurge in new Covid-19 cases. Non-essential mobility and movement, mass gatherings and even restaurant dining have been restricted to curb the spread of the virus and not to overwhelm hospitals and healthcare workers.
This week, the Department of Foreign Affairs-Foreign Service Institute (DFA-FSI), in conjunction with Philippine Archipelago International Trading Corp., hosted a webinar featuring prominent figures in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the practice considered essential in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic in China.
Entitled “Learning from Chinese Experience – Surge Control and Prevention”, Academician Zhang Boli, Honorary President of Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and recipient of the National People’s Hero Honorary Title in August 2020, with the Dr. Jia Zhenhua, Chief Physician of TCM, Doctoral Director and President of the Hebei Institute of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, discussed China’s strategies on how it has been able to control, manage and prevent new outbreaks. Covid-19 infections in his country.
Dr. Jia Zhenhua said the use of TCM, including practicing good hygiene, plays a good role in the prevention and treatment of respiratory infectious diseases in China. He broke down Covid-19 based on what he called the “collateral disease theory” and explained how it is treated using the TCM approach.
“Collateral disease theory” is a theoretical system that contains the characteristics of TCM and studies two branches: “Qi” collateral theory and vessel collateral theory.
One mode of treatment he specifically mentioned was the use of Lianhua Qingwen capsules. “This is already widely used and distributed in major pharmacies in the Philippines,” he said.
For his part, Zhang Boli, who is one of the most important figures in China’s fight against Covid-19, illustrated how they have integrated the benefits of Chinese and Western medicine to deal with this deadly disease. .
He also introduced the decoction of Xuanfei Baidu, another TCM formulation widely used in China’s war against disease and also emphasized the importance of medicine. “Quarantine without medication is only half the success,” he explained.
He also explained how they spread this knowledge to the world through donations from Lianhua Qingwen to different disease-affected countries around the world. Knowledge exchange through presentations like this webinar has also been done in other countries.
The Philippines Respond
The webinar also featured key figures in the Philippine government who are charged with important responsibilities in the fight against Covid-19, namely the Deputy Chief of Implementation of the National Task Force against Covid-19 and the Secretary to the Tsar tests Vince Dizon, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, including DFA Secretary Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin who spoke a few words.
Magalong highlighted how Baguio City has weathered the pandemic, where the local government has made proactive contact tracing and control efforts. This strategy, he said, allowed them to control further spread, which he likened to a “hammer and dance” situation, a two-phase strategy for dealing with the pandemic.
The “Hammer and Dance” strategy begins with a strong containment stage to temporarily limit economic activity and therefore control the pandemic, which is the “hammer”. The emergence of economic rescue efforts ensues so that businesses and households are shielded from negative economic impacts.
He also unveiled Baguio City’s efforts to become a smart city by next year, which is part of the city’s recovery and resilience plan.
For his part, Dizon reported on the status of the country’s national immunization program and also thanked the support of Chinese foreign service representatives for their country’s supply of Covid-19 vaccines, which is rising. now at 11 million bought and one million donated.
He also expressed gratitude to the President of Philippine Archipelago International Trading Corp., Olivia Limpe Aw, as the Sputnik V vaccine emergency use authorization holder, for supplying the Russian Covid-19 vaccine.
Locsin thanked the presenters of the webinar, where he emphasized that knowledge sharing remains one of the essential forms of cooperation, if not the most essential, when it comes to the management of Covid-19.
“No one is safe until everyone is safe.” he said.