Baguio City eyes gradual transition to general community quarantine

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2020   •   413

Baguio City will undergo a “very, very gradual transition” should it be placed under general community quarantine after May 15 when the extended enhanced community quarantine is lifted, Mayor Benjamin Magalong said.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Magalong said the city government has prepared “calibrated, graduated sequential actions” on how to ease up restrictions on certain sectors.

“Baka within two weeks after May 15, baka parang nasa ECQ pa rin tayo,” he said.

He assured that these measures are compliant with the quarantine guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).

The mayor said these measures include the opening of construction to address critical projects which are subject to strict evaluation.

This will be followed by the opening of the transport sector, normalizing of government operations and key economic sectors like manufacturing, business process outsourcing (BPO), opening of key hotels with restaurants, small establishments to include restaurants and retail, and then scaled-down entertainment, worship gatherings, family-oriented activities, in that order.

Magalong stressed that the opening of above-mentioned sectors shall be demand-driven and will follow certain schedules.

Big hotels, on the other hand, will not be allowed to open yet.

“We will always be aligned with the general provisions of the general guidelines of the GCQ,” he said.

“What I’m saying is we have a plan on how to transition, but ‘yung by scheduling, unti-unti. Pati borders, di ko basta-basta open for all,” he added, emphasizing that systems will be put in place like on-line registration.

As to the operation of its Sto. Nino Hospital, which is designated as a COVID-19 facility, the mayor said, it is physically ready and is just awaiting finalization of staffing.

He said the hospital staffing will be funded by the DOH while the administrative support which include provision of security and utility manpower, will be shouldered by the city government.

He said that after May 11, they expect that all other hospitals in the city will no longer accept COVID 19 positive patients, except for Sto. Nino and BGH-MC.

“Ayaw natin mixed-use yung hospital natin,” he added.

Magalong said the city is finalizing proposed modifications in the general guidelines under GCQ, which will be shared with the public in due time.

Palace unconvinced PH has higher COVID-19 cases than Indonesia

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 7, 2020

Malacañang is not convinced that the Philippines has surpassed Indonesia in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

During a press briefing on Friday (August 7), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Philippines is conducting more COVID-19 tests which resulted in more confirmed cases.

Ibig sabihin po dahil mas maigiting ang ating pagte-test hindi totoo na mas marami tayo kaso kaysa sa Indonesia. Hindi lamang nalalaman ng mga Indonesian kung sino-sino ang mga umiikot na mayroong sakit at least tayo alam kung sino po sila (It means we are conducting more tests. It is not true that we have more cases than Indonesia. The Indonesians don’t know who are sick at least, on our case, we know),” he said.

The Department of Health (DOH) has previously explained that the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines cannot be compared to other countries because of the population difference and health care system.

Meanwhile, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said no country can say they have been successful in their fight against COVID-19.

“No country could ever say they are successful. Look at Japan, look at Italy, even Vietnam, and Singapore,” he said. “We focus on what we are doing is appropriate, proper, and practical rather than everyday compare yourself.” -AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

QC gov’t seeks complete info from DOH for contact tracing

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 7, 2020

The Quezon City local government has appealed to the Department of Health (DOH) to ensure complete information of all coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) positive individuals to hasten its contact tracing efforts.

QC Mayor Joy Belmonte said the agency’s failure to provide complete information in some cases delays contact tracing by days.

Due to this, she said frontliners are forced to spend valuable time looking for the needed information from other possible sources including social media.

“The lack of available information from the outset, specifically addresses and contact numbers, amounting to half of all cases reported, delays contact tracing by days,” she said.

Belmote said 573 or 47% out of the 1,224 COVID-19 cases from Aug. 1 to 2 have no addresses or contact numbers, forcing the City Epidemiology and
Surveillance Unit (CESU) to label them as ‘unknown’.

“With that, we appeal to your good office as Secretary of Health to set the vision and direction in improving data quality for rapid contact tracing,” she added. -AAC

Gov’t offices under lockdown reach 153; over 10K gov’t workers, COVID-19 positive

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 6, 2020

Government offices that have been put under lockdown now reached 153, while over 10,000 government employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Among the offices include the Government Service Insurance System office in Pasay City and Quezon City which will remain closed until Friday (August 7). However, the GSIS advisory states that its online facilities will still remain open for members and pensioners.

The main office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Intramuros, Manila will remain closed until August 16 for extensive disinfection and decontamination.

GOVERNMENT OFFICES UNDER LOCKDOWN

NCR – 108
Region IV – 16
Region VII – 11
Region I – 5
Region V – 4
CARAGA – 3
Region IX – 2
CAR – 1
Region II – 1
Region XI – 1
Region XII – 1

TOTAL: 153

Civil Service Commission (CSC) Commissioner Atty. Aileen Lizada advised that the head of department or agency should have a concrete internal protocol to prevent the further spread of the virus. This includes swab testing, disinfection, and other health protocols.

So we need to see, dapat meron kayong ganoong internal protocol para ho na everyone is guided accordingly (So you should have internal protocols so that everyone is guided accordingly),” she said.

Meanwhile, a total of 10,344 government employees tested positive for COVID-19 as of August 5.

Lizada said employees will have free medical services if they wish to be treated in government facilities and hospitals.

She also calls on head of the agencies to continue providing salaries to Job Orders.

“Although there is no employer-employee relationship, I personally believe that the head the agencies must continue paying the salaries of JOs and COS. They were forced to not work because of this virus,” she said. -AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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