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

Maris Federez   •   July 7, 2020   •   383

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

Business owners in Manila reminded to sell face shields at a fair price

Robie de Guzman   •   August 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Manila City government has reminded business owners in the city not to take advantage of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic by selling essential goods and other products at higher prices.

The city’s bureau of permits issued the reminder on Tuesday following reports that some business owners are selling face shields at P100 a piece.

“I don’t think this is the time to take advantage of our public,” Manila’s Bureau of Permits Director Levi Facundo said in a statement.

“Nasa panahon po tayo ng pandemya, maraming nahihirapan. Alam kong apektado rin ang negosyo, pero apektado rin ang mamimili natin dahil sila’y nawalan rin ng trabaho, ng hanap-buhay,” he added.

While the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has not yet released an official suggested retail price (SRP) for face shields, Facundo said that its price should not go beyond P25.

He assured that once an official SRP has been set for face shields, the local government will strictly monitor the pricing of all businesses in the nation’s capital and warned to go after businesses that will be selling the item above its price cap.

He also advised consumers to take extra precaution in buying medical equipment online as they may be scammed.

“If you feel na ang isang nagbebenta ay hindi legit o kaya hindi nag-o-overprice, let us know. We will coordinate with DTI, we will send them show cause order, and pagpapaliwanagin natin,” Facundo said.

Palace on MECQ extension: Health-economy balance needed

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 10, 2020

Amid requests for extension of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), Malacañang said it is up to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) to decide if an extension is necessary.

In a statement on Monday (August 10), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said a balance between health and the country’s economy is needed while fighting against the pandemic.

“On the suggestion to make the MECQ effective for one month, this is a decision that has to be made by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID). It entails a delicate balancing of protecting and saving people’s health to protecting and saving the economic health of the nation,” Roque said.

Former Special Adviser to National Task Force Against Covid-19 Dr. Anthory Leachon said that in order to flatten the curve, MECQ in NCR and other provinces should be extended to one month.

“Kung talagang MECQ ang gusto nila, isagad nila ng isang buwan, tapos ibuild-up na iyong healthcare capacity. Magpa-flatten tayo ng curve, (If they really want MECQ, they should extend it for a month then build up healthcare capacity. We might flatten the curve),” Leachon said in a statement.

Meanwhile, several members of the IATF and Cabinet members will fly to Davao City for a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Metro Manila may ease to GCQ after August 18 – Lorenzana

Robie de Guzman   •   August 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who also serves as the chairman of the National Task Force on COVID-19, on Monday expressed confidence that the National Capital Region (NCR) will be placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) after August 18.

Lorenzana said that recent data on COVID-19 cases show that Metro Manila is ready to loosen its coronavirus lockdown after its two-week return to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) restriction.

He said the trend is “going down” after the Department of Health reported around 3,000 additional cases on Sunday.

Lorenzana said this number is lower compared to the 6,000 increase in recent days.

Metro Manila, as well as Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite and Rizal were placed under MECQ until August 18 after medical workers appealed for a “timeout” amid rising COVID-19 cases.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año also expressed optimism that the re-imposition of a stricter quarantine measure, coupled with the observance of health protocols, will slow down the transmission of coronavirus disease in the country

“Titingnan natin yung figures pero ako, I am optimistic na with the 15 days MECQ, bababa yan. Ang kailangan lang ay sumunod. Huwag na tayong maging pasaway, stay at home,” he said.

He also reiterated his appeal to the public to be responsible and strictly follow advise to only leave their homes for essential needs.

“With 15 days staying at home marami tayong virus diyan na mapapatay kasi incubation period or 14 days talaga namang mamamatay yung virus. Bago pa makalipat sa ibang tao mamatay na yung virus. So please do your partnering,” he said.  – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

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