MANILA – Powerful typhoons can become a form of "coronavirus superspreader" if typhoon victims will be crammed in evacuation centers, where physical distancing is impossible, Sen. Ralph Recto warned Thursday.
In a statement, Recto said the government needs to give frontliners a "timeout" to recalibrate plans for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and to prepare for the typhoon season.
The "two-week good weather window" should be used to stockpile food and prepare strategies to avoid cramming typhoon victims in evacuation areas."
"They have no room for another class of disaster victims, unless we bend the curve and reduce the space occupied and resources used by COVID 19 victims," the senator said.
The government's resources "have been stretched so thin" due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the Philippines has to prepare "because in our vulnerable state, we cannot be one strong typhoon away from hunger," he said.
The Philippines is one of the countries most prone to disaster with at least 20 typhoons entering its area of responsibility annually, Recto said.
"We can pray for good weather, but let us prepare for a bad typhoon season," he said.
"That we will be fighting simultaneously at two disaster fronts is a certainty," he said.
As of August 6, the Philippines has become the COVID-19 epicenter of southeast Asia with 119,460 cases.