IATF expands services in salons, barbershops amid COVID-19 pandemic

Maris Federez   •   July 7, 2020   •   842

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 has expanded the services allowed in salons and barbershops in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Aside from haircut services, hair treatments are now allowed in salons under the GCQ areas; while nail care, basic facial care services, and basic personal care services will be allowed in areas under MGCQ.

Nevertheless, minimum public health standards will be strictly implemented in both GCQ and MGCQ areas, such as strict protocol on hand sanitation, face mask and face shields, gloves, and sterilized equipment.

The operating capacity in salons and barbershops will also be expanded to 50 percent in GCQ areas and 75 percent in MGCQ areas starting July 16, 2020. —(with details from Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

Malacañang asks residents in MGCQ areas not to be complacent as COVID-19 remains a threat

Marje Pelayo   •   January 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte administration is calling on residents in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) to remain vigilant and not to be complacent as coronavirus disease (COVID-19) transmission remains a threat. 

Malacañang through Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reiterated its appeal to the public to always and strictly observe minimum health standards set by the government, otherwise all efforts would end in vain.

“Mas nagiging lax sa probinsya lalong-lalo na ang MGCQ areas,” Roque observed.

“Maski kayo ay naka-MGCQ, kinakailangan pa rin sumunod doon sa ating minimum health protocols. Kaya nga mababa diyan, sumusunod kayo dati sa mga minimum health protocols na mask, hugas at iwas.” he added.

Meanwhile, Malacañang is pleased that local government units are starting to allocate funds for COVID-19 vaccines.

Roque said it means that the national government will be able to lower the amount of loan needed for the procurement of the vaccine.

“We welcome din po ang initiatives ng mga local government units na gamitin ang kanilang pondo sa pagbili ng vaccine kasi ibig sabihin nito, hindi na tayo mangungutang para bilhin ang mga bakunang nilalaan para sa kanilang mga lugar,” he said.

As of this writing, the national government is just awaiting the decision of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as to which COVID-19 vaccine with existing applications may be approved for local use. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

PH gov’t forms panel to monitor, identify occurrence of new COVID-19 variants

Robie de Guzman   •   January 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s task force against COVID-19 has created a panel of experts tasked to monitor and identify the occurrence of new coronavirus variants in the country, Malacañang said Wednesday.

The Palace said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) established the technical working group on COVID-19 variants on Tuesday, in compliance with the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The group will be headed by Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, and Executive Director jaime Montoya of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development will serve as co-chair.

Other members of the technical working group are the following:

  • Dr. Anna Ong-Lim of the DOH Technical Advisory Group (TAG)
  • Dr. Marissa Alejandria of the DOH TAG
  • Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvana of the DOH TAG
  • Dr. Celia Carlos of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine
  • Dr. Eva Maria Cutiongco-dela Paz of the University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health
  • Dr. Cynthia Saloma of the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center
  • Dr. John Wong of Epimetrics

The technical working group will also provide policy recommendations to the IATF on the appropriate response regarding these coronavirus variants.

The IATF likewise resolved that all foreign travelers coming from countries/jurisdictions covered by travel restrictions for the new variant of COVID-19, or with a travel history in those areas within the last 14 days prior to arrival in the Philippines shall not be permitted entry to the Philippines.

Local/accredited foreign diplomats and international organizations such as the World Health Organization and the United Nations shall be exempted from quarantine protocols as long as they will undergo RT-PCR test upon arrival in the country, execute an undertaking, and observe strict 14-day quarantine.

Also exempted are foreign dignitaries who shall observe existing testing and quarantine protocols upon arrival and those for medical and emergency cases, including their medical escorts.

On the other hand, Filipino citizens coming from countries/jurisdictions where travel restrictions are in place, or who have been to the said areas within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines shall strictly observe a facility-based quarantine period, except for highly exceptional and / or medical reasons, which the DOH would determine.

In addition, any individual arriving in the Philippines who may have received vaccination for COVID-19 in other countries/jurisdictions shall still be required to observe the mandatory testing and quarantine protocols.

Metro Manila, 7 other areas under GCQ until January 31 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   January 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Metro Manila and seven other areas in the country will still be under general community quarantine (GCQ) classification until the end of January, Malacañang said Friday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte extended the GCQ classification for Metro Manila, Santiago City, Batangas, Tacloban City, Iligan City, Lanao del Sur, Davao City, and Davao del Norte.

The rest of the country are placed under modified general community quarantine, he added.

The risk-level classifications take effect from January 1 until January 31, 2021.

Duterte earlier said the continued community quarantine restriction was to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus disease.

The Philippines has so far recorded a total of 475,820 COVID-19 infections with 439,895 recoveries and 9,248 fatalities. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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