Facility-based isolation for asymptomatic, mild COVID-19 cases now mandatory

Marje Pelayo   •   September 25, 2020   •   404

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is now requiring facility-based isolation for confirmed asymptomatic and mild coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases through IATF Resolution 74.

The new policy however, exempts patients who are considered vulnerable or having comorbidities and their home meets the conditions specified in the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Joint Administrative Order 2020-0001. 

Likewise, another exception is when the Ligtas COVID-19 Centers within the region are fully occupied and the local government unit does not have sufficient isolation facilities.

DFA reports one new COVID-19 case among overseas Filipinos

Marje Pelayo   •   October 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines –  The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Sunday (October 25) reported one new case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among overseas Filipinos from the Asia and the Pacific.

Also, no new fatality and no new recovery were reported. 

To date, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among Filipinos abroad is at 11,199.

Meanwhile, the tally of fatalities is still at 815 while recoveries remain at 7,248.

The Middle East and Africa continue to be the combined regions with the most number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and have recorded the most number of deaths at 7,376 and 532, respectively. 

The DFA vows full commitment in monitoring the situation of overseas Filipinos who are affected by the pandemic and remains steadfast in promoting and protecting their welfare.

Relaxed travel restrictions still pose health risks—UP OCTA Research

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 23, 2020

Experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) OCTA Research team said relaxed travel restrictions may still pose health risks.

Dr. Guido David, team member of the UP OCTA Research, said it is too early for the country to accept inbound travels and that further review is needed to avoid coronavirus disease (COVID-19) transmission.

“There’s a surge happening right now in Europe so if we were not careful, maraming cases [there are a lot of cases] outside the Philippine, in Europe and certain parts of the world, kasama pa rin diyan iyong sa (these includes) the United States and India. So we have to be careful about letting people,” he said.

David also said despite the drop of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila, there is still a possibility for cases to increase if no safety measures is implemented.

“We’re also a bit worried because the rate of decrease in NCR is not that low anymore. It’s very slow. So it could be, the trend might be reversing anytime,” he added.

Services of Red Cross should also resume first, according to David, because its testing capacity covers 1/4 of the total testing capacity of the country. He also reiterated the need for the public to cooperate in order to fight against the virus.

“The public should be aware that the virus is still here. That the pandemic is not yet over. So if they’re loosening restrictions, responsibility is in the public in deciding whether or not they want to go out,” he said. -AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda).

Gov’t allows religious gatherings at 30% seating capacity in GCQ areas

Marje Pelayo   •   October 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The government has made another step to further relax community restrictions under the recently issued Resolution No. 80 approved by the Inter – Agency Task Force against COVID-19.

On Friday (October 23), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced that religious gatherings are now allowed up to 30% seating capacity from the previous 10% in areas covered by general community quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila.

“Pinayagan na ang religious gatherings sa mga lugar sa ilalim ng GCQ na hanggang 30 percent of the seating or venue capacity,” he said.

“Ito rin po ay alinsunod doon sa mga naging rekomendasyon ng ating mga Metro Manila mayors,” he added.

Meanwhile, foreign investors or foreign nationals who are investors’ visa holders may also enter the country, according to the IATF.

Roque stressed, however, that this does not include foreign tourists visa holders.

“Hindi po lahat ng foreign nationals ang ina-allow,” Roque emphasized.

Roque clarified that only foreigners who are holders of the following requirements are allowed to enter the country:

  • Holders of investors visa; 
  • Holders of 4782 visa issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ);
  • Holders of visa issued by Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

Foreigners who are eligible to enter the Philippines still need an existing, valid visa and a pre-booked stay at an accredited quarantine facility among others.

In addition to the above new ruling, the IATF lifted the previous requirement of pre-boarding test for outbound Filipino travelers.

This means anyone who wants to leave the country no longer needs an antigen testing result but they still need to present a negative COVID-19 test result if required by their country of destination or their airline of choice. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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