JTF COVID Shield to shut down malls not observing physical distancing

Maris Federez   •   May 18, 2020   •   195

MANILA, Philippines — The Joint Task Force COVID Shield on Sunday warned mall-owners that it would facilitate the closure of their establishments if the rule on physical distancing will continue to be violated.

Task Force Commander, PLt.Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, made the statement amid reports and social media posts of mall security managers’ failure to implement physical distancing during the first day of their resumption of operations of some malls, especially in Metro Manila.

“As per instruction of the SILG (Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Eduardo Año), we will not only facilitate the closure of these malls but will also initiate the filing of appropriate charges against the management,” Eleazar said.

Eleazar added that Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa has instructed all police commanders to regularly monitor the movement of people inside the malls in their respective areas of responsibility.

This is to ensure that the basic rules on physical distancing and wearing of face masks are being observed.

Police commanders were also directed to get familiarized with other protocols issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for the resumption of mall operations and other businesses.

The JTF COVID Shield, composed of the PNP, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), is the enforcement arm of the IATF-MEID.

Eleazar said they have already forwarded to the concerned police commanders the names of the malls and other business establishments where the physical distancing was violated.

“These commanders were instructed to warn the management of these malls and make sure that the warning be personally relayed to the mall management and other similar establishments,” he said.

“Other police commanders should also initiate meeting with the mall management to remind them of the protocol and warn them of the consequences if they would fail to observe the protocols,” he added.

Photos and videos of mallgoers violating the physical distancing went viral on social media, with some netizens narrating about how the physical distancing are brazenly violated in malls.

Eleazar also urged the public to continue informing the JTF COVID Shield of the violations not only inside the malls but also in other business establishments for appropriate and immediate action.

“Let us work together to make sure that all the measures aimed at protecting each and everyone of us are strictly observed,” Eleazar concluded. — /mbmf  

IATF includes Central Visayas, Zambo City in areas under GCQ come June 1

Maris Federez   •   May 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has added several provinces and cities to the list of areas that will be placed under the general community quarantine (GCQ) from June 1 to 15.

This, after several local government executives made their appeal to the IATF-MEID to reclassify the community quarantine status of their respective areas.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that Region 7 or the Central Visayas, including Cebu City and Mandaue City, and the city of Zamboanga in Mindanao are now among the areas that will be under the GCQ come Monday.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday initially announced that the National Capital Region (NCR), Regions II, III, and IV, the province of Pangasinan and the city of Davao are placed under GCQ.

The rest of the areas that the chief executive did not mention will be placed under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) starting next month.

Under the GCQ, more economic sectors will be able to resume operation, while those that will be under the MGCQ will transition to the “new normal” way of living.

Meanwhile, the Malacañang assured that the IATF is now finding ways on how the public utility jeepneys (PUJ) will be able to resume operation while maintaining social distancing and health protocols, as more industries will reopen by Monday.

Roque said that as reported by the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the resumption of operations of mass transportation in the NCR will be done in phases.

Pasensya na po sa ating mga kapatid na namamasada ng mga jeepney, pero pinag-aaralan pa po kung papaano magkakaroon ng social distancing sa ating mga jeepney. Bagaman mayroon na po tayong bahagyang pagbukas o pagpayag sa mga pampublikong transportasyon, ang pangunahing guidelines po diyan social distancing,” Roque said.

[I beg the indulgence of our jeepney drivers, but maintaining social distancing inside the jeepneys is still being determined. Although we have already started to open our public transportation, the primary guidelines to be considered in it is social distancing.] —(from the report of Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

NCRPO at LRT2, nagsagawa ng simulation exercise para sa posibleng pagbabalik-operasyon sa Lunes

Robie de Guzman   •   May 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Nagsagawa ng simulation exercise ang National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) at ang management ng Light Rail Transit line 2 (LRT-2) bilang paghahanda sa posibleng pagbabalik-operasyon ng mga tren kapag isinailalim na sa general community quarantine (GCQ).

Sa simulation na isinagawa noong Martes (Mayo 26) 400 police recruits ang nagkunwaring pasahero ng tren upang maipakita ang ipatutupad na social distancing measures mula sa pila hanggang sa pagsakay sa mga bagon.

Sa loob at labas ng istasyon ng tren, may makikitang mga dilaw na marka sa sahig na indikasyon para sa mga mga pasahero kung saan sila dapat tumayo kapag nakapila.

Sa loob ng tren ay may makikita ring mga marka para malaman ng mga pasahero kung saan lang sila maaaring umupo o tumayo.

Ayon kay Jimmy Chua, ang manager ng LRT-2 Security and Safety Division, 160 pasahero lamang ang maaaring isakay sa bawat biyahe ng tren alinsunod sa mga panuntunang inilabas ng pamahalaan.

Sa unang istasyon ng tren, 90 pasahero lang ang papayagang sumakay upang mabigyan pa ng pagkakataong makasakay ang iba pang pasaherong naghihintay sa kasunod na mga istasyon.

Batid ng LRT-2 management na malaki ang malulugi sa kanila pagdating sa koleksyon ng pasahe pero pagtitiyak ni Chua, hindi sila magtataas ng singil.

“Financially, malaki ang magiging loss namin, it’s a government-owned (facility) naman, government-operated, so naka-depende kami sa government para sa subsidy para sa tuluy-tuloy na pagserbisyuhan ang pasahero,” ani Chua.

Upang matiyak namang maipatutupad ng maayos ang physical distancing, nasa 12 hanggang 15 security guards ang idadagdag ng LRT-2 para magbantay sa loob at labas ng tren.

Sinabi rin ni NCRPO director Police Major General Debold Sinas na maglalagay sila ng shift ng apat hanggang 32 pulis bawat istasyon ng tren, depende sa dami ng mga pasahero.

“Habang hindi pa nasanay ang mga kababayan natin kung papaano sumakay, we have estimated already lahat lahat na ay around 500 for the different station lang depende sa request kasama ng istasyon ng PNR ay naghingi din ng minimum ng 2 to 4,” ani Sinas.

Maliban sa physical distancing, magpapatupad rin ang LRT-2 ng ‘no mask, no entry’ policy.

Hindi rin papapasukin ang mga pasaherong may temperaturang mas mataas pa sa 37.8 at nagpapakita ng sintomas ng coronavirus disease gaya ng ubo, sipon, lagnat at pananakit ng lalamunan.

Ang mga hakbang na ito ay kasunod na rin ng mga ulat na posibleng isailalim na sa GCQ ang Metro Manila at iba pang lugar na nasa ilalim ng modified enhanced community quarantine sa Hunyo 1.

Sa ilalim ng GCQ, maaari nang payagan ang limitadong pagbabalik-operasyon ng ilang pampublikong transportasyon kabilang na ang tren pero kailangang nakasunod ang mga ito sa nakatalagang health at safety protocols upang maiwasan ang pagkalat ng COVID-19.

Nakatakdang magpulong ngayong Miyerkules ang mga miyembro ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases para isapinal ang kanilang mga rekomendasyon na isusumite kay Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

IATF approves Phl participation in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials

Maris Federez   •   May 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Upon the recommendation of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the proposed participation of the Philippines in clinical trials that seek to formulate a potential vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Based on IATF Resolution No.39 dated May 22, 2020, the task force has also ordered the creation of a sub-technical working group which will be led by the DOST.

The group will be coordinating with the four collaborating organizations composed of the Department of Health (DOH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), and the World Health Organization (WHO) with regard to the said clinical trials.

The IATF has also issued a directive to the FDA to facilitate the processing of necessary permits for the conduct of the clinical trials in the country.

The collaborating organizations for the clinical trials are the Adimmune Corporation, Academia Sinica, Chinese Academy of Science- Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health, the Sinopharm – Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, and the Beijing Institute.

Once the clinical trials are undertaken, these will be included in the FDA’s requirements for the registration process for the vaccine and the application for certificate of registration to make the vaccine available in the market.

The Philippines has initially participated in the WHO’s clinical trials, which include the testing of off-label drugs that show potential of being effective against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the IATF has also approved the plans of the DOST to construct research centers for the local vaccine research development.

These include the Virology S&T Institute at the New Clark City in Tarlac and the reactivation of the Pharmaceutical Development Unit of the DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute. —(from the report of Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

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