IATF proposes school opening in September, awaits DepEd recommendation

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 24, 2020   •   522

File photo of a public school teacher

The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has proposed to move the opening of the school year to September amid the continued threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

However, they would still have to wait for the recommendation of the Department of Education (DepEd) regarding the official opening of classes.

DepEd is already mulling over postponing the opening of classes for the safety of the students amid the COVID-19 threat.

Acting National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Karl Chua said Republic Act no. 7977 states that the school year shall start on the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August.

“Hanggang end of August puwede naman po, so hintayin na lang po natin ang Deped para mag-present at ang IATF ang magsasabi kung policy na po (It is still allowed until the end of August, we will wait for Deped’s presentation then the IATF will announce if it is already a policy),” he said. AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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IATF to allow partial opening of gyms, internet cafes, aesthetic services starting August 1

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the partial opening of more business establishments in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified (GCQ) starting August 1, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said Wednesday.

According to IATF Resolution No. 59, establishments in GCQ areas that are offering aesthetic services, gyms, fitness centers and sports facilities, internet cafes, personal grooming, pet grooming, testing and tutorial centers as well as review centers and drive-in cinemas will be allowed to operate up to 30 percent of capacity.

The DTI, however, clarified that gyms with contact sports such as karate and boxing are not covered by the measure.

In areas under MGCQ, limited operations will be allowed for establishments offering full body massage, live events, entertainment industries, libraries, archives, museums and cultural centers, and tourist destinations, as well as driving, and dance/acting/voice schools.

The DTI said these businesses will be allowed to partially operate as long as mandatory health protocols, such as physical distancing and sanitation, are followed.

Meanwhile, Malacañang reiterated on Wednesday that President Rodrigo Duterte will make announcements this week about the new community quarantine classification that will be implemented in August.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the president is set to meet with the IATF on Thursday to discuss its recommendations.

Roque also said that aside from the new community quarantine restrictions, the public should also await the “major changes” that will be implemented in the government’s response to COVID-19 pandemic.

The Palace official earlier said that these changes, which will include massive testing, “invigorated” tracing, and creation of more quarantine facilities, will focus more on the policies to contain the public health crisis. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

IATF urged anew to reconsider rule on motorcycle barriers for riding couples

Robie de Guzman   •   July 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. on Monday reiterated his appeal to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) to reconsider its policy on the use of barriers for motorcycle riding couples.

In a statement, Revilla said the IATF should heed the sentiments of riders, several engineers and other experts on the mandatory installation of barriers in motorcycles due to concerns on safety, aerodynamics and maneuverability for riders.

“Napakarami po sa ating mga kababayan ang mismong nagsasabi na nahihirapan silang magbalanse at mag-maneuver ng kanilang motorsiklo dahil sa divider,” he said.

The senator suggested that the IATF conduct a comprehensive consultation among motorcycle manufacturers and experts to come up with better guidelines that will protect motorcycle riders from obtaining COVID-19 and at the same time, spare them from any road mishaps.

“Sa hirap po ng buhay ngayon lalo na’t marami sa ating mga kababayan ang walang hanapbuhay at pambili ng divider, napipilitan silang mag-improvise ng sarili nilang barricade. Mas nalalagay tuloy sa alanganin ang ating mga kababayan lalo na kung yung improvised na divider nila ay hindi matibay ang pagkakakabit, marupok ang materyales, o di kaya’y kulang o sobra sa bigat,” he said.

Revilla renewed his call after Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, Joint Task Force (JTF) COVID Shield Commander, announced on July 18 that the government is extending the deadline for the installation of motorcycle barriers from July 19 to July 26.

Eleazar earlier said that the deadline was moved to give more time for motorcycle riders to install barriers based on the two designs approved by the task force.

“Gusto natin kasi na maka-comply sila, mabigyan ng mahaba pang oras para doon sa mga design na inilabas ng National Task Force. At ‘yon nga din ang panawagan n’ong iba na pwede makahinga ng extension pati na rin itong naglabas ng design at sa Angkas, sinasabi nga nila mas maganda siguro na mas makarami na maka-avail n’ong design na inilabas nila,” Eleazar said.

He said that after July 26, they will apprehend those who will violate the new rule.

Since the task force announced the policy allowing pillion riding in motorcycle for couples on July 10, authorities have monitored more than 7,000 violators in various parts of the country. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

IATF, naglabas ng guidelines para sa home quarantine

Robie de Guzman   •   July 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Hindi na papayagan ang basta na lamang na pagsasailalim sa home quarantine ng isang confirmed, suspected o probable case ng novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) batay sa guidelines na inilabas ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).

Sa nasabing panuntunan, may tatlong tanong na kailangang sagutin upang payagan ang pagsasagawa ng home quarantine para sa mga taong pinasususpetsahan o naimpeksyon ng nakakahawang COVID-19.

Una, mayroon ba siyang sariling kwarto sa kanilang bahay?

Pangalawa, may sarili bang banyo ang kuwarto na hindi ginagamit ng ibang kasama sa bahay?

At pangatlo, may kasama ba sa bahay na mga taong itinuturing na vulnerable sa COVID-19 gaya ng senior citizen, buntis, o may sakit o comorbities o dinadalang sakit tulad ng diabetes, hypertension, cancer, at iba pa?

Kung walang sariling kwarto na may banyo sa bahay ang isang COVID-19 patient, o kung may kasama siyang kabilang sa vulnerable group, hindi siya maaaring sumailalim sa home quarantine at kailangang dalhin siya sa isang local quarantine facility.

Layunin ng bagong panuntunan na mapigilan ang patuloy na pagkalat ng coronavirus disease sa mga sangbahayan at komunidad, at mabawasan ang bilang ng mga nagpapa-confine sa ospital lalo’t punuan na ang sitwasyon sa ilang pagamutan sa gitna ng COVID-19 crisis.

“Kung bagsak ka sa kahit iisa man sa tatlong iyon, hindi ka pwede mag home quarantine. Bakit? yun ang nagiging rason ng pagkalat ng COVID-19,” ani Vince Dizon na nagsisilbing Chief Testing Czar ng pamahalaan.

Susunduin ng local health units mula sa bahay ang pasyenteng hindi nakapasa sa guidelines ng home quarantine. Sa quarantine facility, libre ang pagkain, gamot at Wi-Fi connection para sa mga pasyente.

Paglilinaw naman ng IATF, papayagan pa rin ang home quarantine kung masusunod ang mga inilatag na kondisyon para rito.

Sinabi rin ni Dizon na gumagawa na ng paraan ang pamahalaan para lalo pang mapataas ang bed capacity sa isolation centers sa bansa.

“Right now, we are running at around roughly 53 percent sa National Capital Region sa ating mga We Heal As one Centers… Marami pa tayong ibang gagawin,” aniya.

Muling humihingi ang mga otoridad ng kooperasyon sa publiko para mapigilan ang lalo pang pagdami ng mga tinatamaan ng coronavirus disease sa bansa.

Sa kasalukuyan, mayroon nang kabuuang 57,006 kaso ng COVID-19 infections sa bansa, 1,599 sa mga ito ang nasawi habang 20,371 naman ang gumaling mula sa viral respiratory disease. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

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