IATF to finalize recommendations on quarantine protocols before June 15

Robie de Guzman   •   June 9, 2020   •   340

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) will meet this week to discuss and finalize its recommendation to the President on whether or not quarantine protocols in Metro Manila and other parts of the country will be further loosened or tightened after June 15.

The IATF said its members will meet on Wednesday, June 10, to study newly-analyzed data on the trend of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country in order to draft their resolution which will be presented for the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The task force said it is expected to meet with the president in Davao City on Thursday, June 11.

Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Pangasinan, Cagayan Valley, Central Visayas, Zamboanga City and Davao City are under general community quarantine (GCQ) from June 1 to 15.

All other areas in the country are placed under modified GCQ.

Under the GCQ guidelines, restrictions on people’s movement, public transportation and the operations of industries have been relaxed although it remains limited, provided that minimum health standards set by the government are strictly observed.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said among the factors that the IATF will look into when drafting its recommendation is the case doubling rate in the country.

He added that the data of Metro Manila and Cebu City will particularly be analyzed amid continuing increase in coronavirus infections.

“Tinitingnan po natin ang case-doubling rate, tinitingnan po natin ang critical care capacity. Kapag po ganyang tumataas, well, siyempre po may posibilidad na hindi tayo mag-graduate to the next phase. We have to look at the data of Metro Manila and Cebu City carefully,” Roque said.

But if the IATF recommends Metro Manila to be placed under the MGCQ, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said more industries will be allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity.

These include industries on entertainment and kid amusement, libraries, museums, cultural centers, tourist destinations, travel agencies, tour operators, other personal care services, travel agencies, pet grooming services, internet and computer shops and other educational support establishments.

People aged 21 and below living in MGCQ areas will still be urged to remain at home but they will be allowed to do fitness and sports activities and visit leisure-related establishments.

“May mga exemption po at isa po sa exemption under MGCQ, ma-allow na po sila to exercise, do those activities na inaallow naman po under MGCQ. Ibig sabihin, mapapayagan din po silang mag-exercise sa labas at gawin ang sports activities na kailangang gawin at bisitahin ang pwede nang bisitahin,” DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

Authorities, however, stressed that “sabong” and horse racing activities remain prohibited in the country.

“Hindi pa rin po pinayagan ang horse racing, ang sabong, pinagbabawal pa rin po,” Roque said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte to announce new community quarantine status on August 17 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   August 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to address the nation on August 17, Monday, to announce fresh community quarantine restrictions to be implemented in the country, Malacañang said Thursday.

The two-week modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) over Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna will lapse on August 18.

“Inaasahan po natin na magmemensahe sa taumbayan muli ang ating Presidente sa Aug. 17 kung saan iaanunsyo din niya ‘yung bagong classifications,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

Roque earlier said it is unlikely that the MECQ will be extended because the country’s economy can no longer afford to undergo strict lockdown.

He said recommendations for all other provinces and cities for quarantine classifications have already been submitted for the president’s approval.

As of Wednesday, the Philippines has recorded 147,526 confirmed coronavirus infections, of which 74,713 are active.

The number of reported recoveries also rose to 70,387 while the death toll is at 2,426. – RRD (with details from Correspondent 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)

Tricycle, e-trikes at bangka, pinayagan nang bumiyahe ng ilang LGUs

Marje Pelayo   •   August 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Ilang lokal na pamahalaan sa Metro Manila ang pinayagan na ang pagbyahe ng mga tricycle, e-trikes at bangka sa kani-kanilang lugar sa gitna ng pag-iral ng modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

Subalit, tiniyak ng mga ito na nasusunod ang mahigpit na health and safety protocols para sa mga drivers at pasahero. 

Sa Navotas City, may byahe na ng bangka papunta sa Malabon City para maghatid ng mga pasaherong papasok sa trabaho at uuwi sa kani-kanilang bahay. 

Limang piso (P5) kada isang tao ang singil ng mga bangkero at ayon kay Geronimo Meno, malaking tulong na ito pantawid sa kaniyang pamilya.

“Nakakaraos naman pang-araw-araw. Kahit pang-bigas, nakakakuha,” pahayag nito.

Si Lalaine Ama, malaki na ang nagastos para lang makapasok sa trabaho simula nang magluwag ang community quarantine sa Metro Manila.

Mula Navotas City ay kailangan niyang bumiyahe patungong Quezon City araw-araw.

“Noong unang linggo ng June na pumasok na, P400 plus ang pamasahe ko,” aniya.

Ngayong balik MECQ, naglaaan na ng service ang kanilang kumpanya pero sa Malabon pa ito nakahimpil kaya kailangan pa rin niyang sumakay ng bangka para makarating kung saan nakaistasyon ang kanilang service.

Pero malaking tipid na rin aniya kasya sumakay siya ng tricycle palabas ng C4 kung saan gagastos siya ng P50 kada byahe.

Bukod sa bangka ay pinayagan na ring makabyahe ang tricycle at pedicab pero ayon kay Mang Virgilio Cañese, mababa na sa ngayon ang kanilang kinikita.

“Dati nakaka P400 kami, P500. Ngayon swerte na maka P100 ka ngayon dahil walang tumatawid,” ayon kay Mang Virgilio na 30 taon ng padyak driver.

Pinayagan ng city government ang ganitong sasakyan sa ilalim ng MECQ para makapaghatid ng mga manggagawa na pinapayagang makapagtrabaho partikular sa Navotas Fishport.

Sa Maynila naman, pinayagan na ni Mayor Isko Domagoso ang pagpasada ng mga tricycle, e-trikes at pedicab sa lungsod kahit MECQ upang matulungan ang mga driver na kumita para sa kanilang pamilya.

Gayunman, mahigpit ang bilin ng alkalde na isang pasahero lang dapat sa bawat byahe ang pwedeng maisakay.

“Kaya sa lahat ng kaanak ninyo, maghanap buhay kayo sa tatlong gulong. Mayroon lang akong ipakikisuyo: tupdin natin ang panawagan ng IATF. Hangga’t maaari, isang pasahero lang,” pagbibigay diin nito.

Bukod sa Navotas at Maynila, pinayagan na rin ang mga sasakyang ito sa lugar ng Muntinlupa, Pasig, Paranaque, Taguig, Valenzuela, at Quezon City. 

Sa isang panayam sinabi ni Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager Jojo Garcia na papayagan lamang ang mga tricycle na bumiyahe kung ito ay para maghatid ng medical frontliners, sa panahon ng emergency, at para sa mga taong kailangang bumili ng essential goods. –MNP (sa ulat ni Rey Pelayo)

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