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What emergency response?


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IT was quite hard to believe the failure of government emergency responders to lend aid to a male foreigner who collapsed on Taft Av­enue near Remedios Street in Ermita, Manila, recently.

The uploader of the video, which was posted on Facebook and went viral last week, spoke of contacting government hospitals to send an ambulance, but not even one was dispatched.

There were a lot of people around, but it seemed that they were afraid to approach the man who they initially thought was infected by the novel coronavirus (nCoV).

Police were called in, but they never arrived for over an hour that the man lay on the ground.

Government’s inaction, in this case, sends a message that if this happens to you, “sorry, you’re on your own”.

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What if that man was nCoV-infect­ed? No one helped him nor stopped him from leaving. He could have spread the virus further.

What if he had a heart attack? Would authorities leave him to die simply because of the virus scare? So is this how our emergency services “respond” to such cases now?

To think that in the first few days that news of the Wuhan virus spread, Pinoys were somewhat proud that our government protocols were stringent enough to confine the spread of the contagion. Tsk. Tsk.

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So it turned out that the man was a drunken Korean after all.

But that’s beside the point. Whether he was infected or suffering from a non-contagious ailment, it tested the response (or the lack of it) of our health authorities despite the efforts of a concerned citizen/video uploader who tried phoning hospitals, the Red Cross, and the police to seek help.

The uploader already sounded desperate while trying to seek help but no assistance ever came from the concerned agencies. The barangay sent a tanod over, and the police ar­rived an hour after the Korean stood up and staggered away, according to a news report.

The Manila police discovered much later that the nCoV scare was “fake news” only when the Korean visited the police station to explain himself upon learning that he went “viral” on Facebook.

Yeah, no emergency responders at the scene for over an hour that the Korean lay on the ground.

To think that Secretary Duque, in a recent interview, stated that the country’s healthcare is not weak. This is crap.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read cur­rent and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/