Italy eases restrictions after fewest daily deaths from COVID-19 reported

UNTV News   •   May 4, 2020   •   435

Italy has started easing its restrictions since Monday in its second phase of returning to normal life, as the country on Sunday reported 174 new deaths from COVID-19, the fewest since the lockdowns began nearly two months ago.

At the news, many Italians seem relieved, while others are nervous about the future. Under phase 2, relatives can reunite in small groups. For Silvia Poletto’s three kids, it has been a two-month wait but now they will reunite with their grandma in the countryside.

“It will be amazing because they will have open air and their grandmother all at once. So, I’m really emotional about that, I can’t wait for it,” said Poletto.

Parks will reopen and residents will be allowed outside. For Poletto’s husband Maurizio Levante, he admitted it was a big step after two months inside.

“Compared to the past, it’s nothing but now it’s a lot. I think we will appreciate a lot, much more than before the freedom,” said Levante.

“I am a bit even scared about this, it won’t be a normal life, it will be a different life. I think for everybody,” said Poletto.

During phase 2, manufacturing and construction will also start again.

“It will be difficult the first day, the first week to adapt to the new measures, we will still feel this lockdown in the weeks ahead because we haven’t worked and the costs have remained,” said Nicola Rapino, who owns a construction company based in Pescara.

Upon construction resumptions, those sites have to adhere to work-safe measures, such as temperature checks, masks, gloves and social distancing.

Another sector set to restart is the auto industry, but car dealerships are apprehensive that there will not be any customers. Francesco Barbuscia is the owner of the car dealership Barbuscia Auto S.r.l. , which has been in his family for 100 years. He feared that many in the business will have no choice but to close and this has been the most difficult period his company has ever experienced.

“There’s a mix of excitement and fear because the question is who will come when we reopen to buy a car. This is a game changer for all of us, and certainly for the automotive dealerships,” said Barbuscia.

“In 2009, the market dropped down after the financial crisis of 23 percent and less than a half survived that crisis. Now we’re looking at figures of minus 30 percent; so, many of us will not survive,” he added.

It is a sentiment shared by those businesses who have to wait another month to open, such as hairdressers, beauticians and restaurants. But the government said a slow and staged reopening is the only way Italy can move forward.

As of Sunday, Italy has reported a total of 209,328 COVID-19 cases, with 79,914 recovered, and 28,710 deaths, according to the Italian Ministry of Health. (Reuters)

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Locally-stranded individuals, hindi muna makakapasok sa Bulacan habang naka-MECQ – LGU

Robie de Guzman   •   August 4, 2020

Inanunsyo ngayong Martes ng Bulacan provincial government na hindi muna papayagang makapasok ang mga uuwing locally-stranded individuals (LSI) habang nasa ilalim ng modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) ang lalawigan.

Ayon kay Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando, layon ng hakbang na higpitan ang paglabas-masok ng mga tao sa Bulacan at Metro Manila nang mapigilan ang lalo pang pagkalat ng coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“No LSI muna na manggagaling sa ibang lugar, lahat ng papasok sa main, hindi muna namin tatangapin habang naka-MECQ tayo. Yung papasok ng Maynila talagang hihigpitan namin ang pagbabantay,” ani Fernando.

Bilang bahagi ng hakbanging ito, naglagay na ng checkpoint ang Bulacan Police sa entry at exit points ng lalawigan pati na sa mga daanang papunta at pabalik ng North Luzon Expressway at Metro Manila.

Ayon kay Bulacan Provincial Police director PCol. Lawrence Cajipe, dadaan sa inspeksyon ang mga sasakyan upang matiyak na authorized person outside residence (APOR), medical at iba pang essential workers lang ang bumibiyahe.

“Kung hindi sila APOR, huwag na nilang pilitin palabas. Madedelay lang sila pagmumulan lang ng tensyon, kung di naman medical emergency huwag nang lumabas,” ani Cajipe.

Paalala rin ng mga otoridad, suspendido sa ngayon ang biyahe ng mga pampasaherong bus, jeep at iba pang pampublikong sasakyan.

Epektibo rin ang curfew hours sa lalawigan mula alas-otso ng gabi hanggang ala-singko ng umaga. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Nestor Torres)

Former gov’t COVID-19 special adviser calls for voluntary ECQ

Marje Pelayo   •   August 4, 2020

Dr. Tony Leachon

MANILA, Philippines — Former Covid-19 National Task Force Adviser Dr. Tony Leachon said he recommended the re-imposition of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila when he was invited to the Malacañan Palace on July 15.

Last weekend, medical professionals expressed the same recommendation to the national government in hopes of stopping the mounting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

But because of economic considerations, the government has decided to reinforce modified ECQ instead.

Leachon said he welcomes this decision.

“The MECQ has activity and mobility of 50 percent. It will not totally stop the transmission,” he noted.

“But we will observe in the next two weeks whether the MECQ will arrest the transmission,” he added.

He explained that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country is alarming considering that there are unreported cases, or even deaths linked to the new coronavirus.

“When they go to the emergency room they are severely sick then would be intubated and they die, or they are rejected from the hospital so they die at home, or they don’t have access to RT-PCR because it’s expensive” Leachon explained.

So ang daming namamatay diyan na ganyan (So, many cases die that way )” he added.

At this point of the pandemic, Leachon is calling on the public to submit themselves to a voluntary ECQ especially the old and the sick.

Tayo na ang magboluntaryo mismo na huwag na tayo makadagdag. Ang lumabas na lang ay iyong talagang kailangang lumabas, iyong 50% ng workforce (Let’s take it upon ourselves not to add to the problem. Only those who need to go out should be outside, such as 50% of the workforce),” Leachon advised.

“Pero iyong iba, iyong 25% doon sa GCQ ay huwag na po. Huwag na, kasi kapag nagkasakit kayo wala ng pera nga ang government tapos baka magkasakit pa ang mga doktor (But others, the 25% in the GCQ areas, it’s better not to go out. Refrain from going out because once you get sick, the government no longer has funds and worse, the doctors might get sick as well)” he stressed.

Dr. Leachon also highlights the importance of adhering to the minimum health standards, including wearing a face mask and face shield, and using disinfectant for protection. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

‘No need to panic buy,’ Palace reminds public

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 3, 2020

Consumers in Metro Manila flocked to grocery stores after President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday night, approved the reversion of some areas to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) in response to the medical frontliners’ plea for a two-week “timeout”.

This prompted Malacañang on Monday to remind the public not to panic buy amid the implementation of MECQ in the National Capital Region (NCR).

“Walang dahilan para mag-panic buying. Supplies are high, delivered in supermarkets in anticipation of bigger demand prior to MECQ,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

The Palace official reiterated that only essential establishments will remain open including supermarkets, banks, and hospitals. He also said that the “time out” will be used to strengthen the government’s testing, tracing, and treatment of COVID-19.

“This is primarily to accede to the demand of the frontliners for a break. A ‘time out,'” Roque said. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

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