Gov’t agencies to issue guidelines on use of face shields, IATF says

Robie de Guzman   •   December 18, 2020   •   337

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID) on Friday said that government agencies will come up with a consolidated guidelines on the proper use of  face shields, including exclusions or exemptions.

The IATF said the consolidated advisory will be released by the Department of Health (DOH). Department of Trade and Industry, and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and other agencies.

The task force’s directive comes after Malacañang’s announcement on the mandatory use of face mask and full-coverage face shields when leaving their homes.

The government previously required the wearing of face shields only in establishments and public transport.

Health authorities earlier said the latest policy is necessary to curb the spread of novel coronavirus disease.

The Philippines has so far recorded 454,447 COVID-19 infections with 8,850 deaths.

Day 1 of COVID-19 vaccine rollout records more than 700 vaccinees

Maris Federez   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The number of recipients on Day-1 of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout in Metro Manila has exceeded the expectation of the Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19 (IATF).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said this is a solid proof of the success of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Program.

Based on the tally reported to Malacañang, the first day of the vaccine rollout yielded 756 vaccinees from six hospitals in Metro Manila:

  • UP-Philippine General Hospital (PGH), 128
  • Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center & Sanitarium, 85
  • Lung Center of the Philippines, 20
  • Veterans Memorial Medical Center, 353
  • Victoriano Luna Medical Center, 60
  • PNP General Hospital, 110

Prior to Day-1, only less than one hundred frontline workers in PGH volunteered to be vaccinated.

“Naging napakatagumpay po ng Day-1 ng ating national vaccination program. Kung sana po lahat po ay nagdiwang. May iba pa pong naiyak sa tuwa nung nakita nilang nagpapabakuna si Dr. Gap Legaspi,” Roque said. —/mbmf (with details from Rosalie Coz)

iNITAG rejects IATF’s request to include influencers among first recipients of Sinovac vaccine

Maris Federez   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reported that the Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19 (IATF) had asked the Interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (INITAG) to reserve slots for CoronaVac shots for influencers to boost public trust in the vaccine.

The list of influencers submitted to INITAG include President Rodrigo Duterte, the members of the Cabinet, lawmakers, local chief executives, and other personalities.

INITAG, however, disapproved the request as the vaccination rollout prioritizes the medical frontliners in receiving the vaccines.

“Kami po sa IATF ay nag-propose na mga 50 na mga bakuna ay ireserba sa mga tinawatag nating influencer nang mapaigting natin ang vaccine confidence. Hindi po sumang-ayon ang INITAG,” Roque said.

The only thing that the Palace could do was to apologize to the local chief executives who had initially volunteered to be vaccinated.

Only three personalities from the administration were inoculated with the CoronaVac under the directive of the president.

They are National Task Force (NTF) Chief Implementer and Vaccine CzarSec. Carlito Galvez; NTF Deputy Chief Implementer and Testing Czar Vince Dizon; and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairperson Benhur Abalos who represents the local chief executives of Metro Manila. —/mbmf (with details from Rosalie Coz)

IATF approves uniform travel protocols for LGUs

Maris Federez   •   February 27, 2021

A security officer (C) with a trained dog inspects passenger luggage at a provincial bus terminal in Quezon City, Philippines, 29 October 2019. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the uniform travel protocols for all local government units (LGUs).

An advisory released on Saturday (February 27) by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) crafted these uniform travel protocols for land, air and sea.

It is in close coordination with the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, League of Provinces of the Philippines, League of Municipalities of the Philippines, and the League of Cities of the Philippines.

The uniform protocol provides that “travelers shall no longer be required to undergo COVID-19 testing except if the local government unit (LGU) of destination will make testing as a requirement prior to travel. Testing will be limited to RT-PCR test.”

“Travelers shall no longer undergo quarantine unless they exhibit symptoms upon arrival at the LGU of destination,” the advisory further read.

Minimum public health standards, such as physical distancing, hand hygiene, cough etiquette, and wearing of face masks and face shields across all settings shall continue to be strictly implemented by authorities concerned.

Ports of entry and exit personnel shall strictly implement clinical and exposure assessment as health assessment of passengers shall also be mandatory upon entry in the port/terminal and exit at point of destination.

Meanwhile, the travel authority issued by the Joint Task Force COVID Shield and health certificates shall no longer be required.

However, authorized persons outside of residence (APORS) from national government agencies and their attached agencies must provide their identification card, travel order, and travel itinerary. They must likewise pass symptom-screening at the ports of entry and exit.

The PCOO media release further read that the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)’s Safe, Swift, and Smart Passage (S-PaSS) Travel Management System will now be institutionalized as the one-stop-shop application/ communication for travelers.

“The StaySafe.ph System shall be utilized as the primary contact tracing system. Other existing contact tracing applications, such as Traze App, must be integrated with the StaySafe.ph System,” it added.

Ports and terminals must have sufficient quarantine or isolation facilities, as well as a workable referral system wherein symptomatic travelers shall be immediately transferred to quarantine or isolation facilities to enable the Bureau of Quarantine for airports, or local health officials for LGUs, to take over.

All buses in Metro Manila bound for the provinces, on the other hand, shall be required to use the Integrated Terminal Exchange as the central hub for transportation.

“At the option of the LGUs, they may provide transportation for all travelers who are transiting from one LGU to another in cases of arrivals at air and seaports to their end-point destinations,” the IATF said.

The DILG, the DOST, the Department of Health, the Department of Tourism, the Department of Transportation, and the Philippine National Police, as well as the LGUs, shall jointly ensure that these protocols are smoothly implemented.

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