Limited workshops, trainings, and other events now partially allowed in GCQ areas

Robie de Guzman   •   December 4, 2020   •   185

MANILA, Philippines – The conduct of limited workshops, trainings, seminars, and other related events will now be allowed in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) during a meeting on Thursday decided to allow the following events to be held in GCQ areas, with venues to be filled up to 30 percent capacity:

  • Workshops
  • Trainings
  • Seminars
  • Congresses
  • Conferences
  • Board meetings
  • Colloquia
  • Conclaves
  • Symposia
  • Consumer trade shows

Roque said these events may be held in venues such as restaurants, in general; restaurants attached to hotels; ballrooms and function halls within hotels; venues within hotel premises; and mall atria.

The IATF has directed the Department of Tourism and the Department of Trade and Industry to jointly issue the necessary guidelines, he added.

The latest policy is stated in the IATF Resolution No. 87.

Metro Manila is currently under GCQ along with seven other areas until year-end. Select business have been permitted to operate at full capacity under this quarantine level.

Other parts of the country are under modified GCQ. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

PH gov’t forms panel to monitor, identify occurrence of new COVID-19 variants

Robie de Guzman   •   January 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s task force against COVID-19 has created a panel of experts tasked to monitor and identify the occurrence of new coronavirus variants in the country, Malacañang said Wednesday.

The Palace said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) established the technical working group on COVID-19 variants on Tuesday, in compliance with the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The group will be headed by Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, and Executive Director jaime Montoya of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development will serve as co-chair.

Other members of the technical working group are the following:

  • Dr. Anna Ong-Lim of the DOH Technical Advisory Group (TAG)
  • Dr. Marissa Alejandria of the DOH TAG
  • Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvana of the DOH TAG
  • Dr. Celia Carlos of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine
  • Dr. Eva Maria Cutiongco-dela Paz of the University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health
  • Dr. Cynthia Saloma of the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center
  • Dr. John Wong of Epimetrics

The technical working group will also provide policy recommendations to the IATF on the appropriate response regarding these coronavirus variants.

The IATF likewise resolved that all foreign travelers coming from countries/jurisdictions covered by travel restrictions for the new variant of COVID-19, or with a travel history in those areas within the last 14 days prior to arrival in the Philippines shall not be permitted entry to the Philippines.

Local/accredited foreign diplomats and international organizations such as the World Health Organization and the United Nations shall be exempted from quarantine protocols as long as they will undergo RT-PCR test upon arrival in the country, execute an undertaking, and observe strict 14-day quarantine.

Also exempted are foreign dignitaries who shall observe existing testing and quarantine protocols upon arrival and those for medical and emergency cases, including their medical escorts.

On the other hand, Filipino citizens coming from countries/jurisdictions where travel restrictions are in place, or who have been to the said areas within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines shall strictly observe a facility-based quarantine period, except for highly exceptional and / or medical reasons, which the DOH would determine.

In addition, any individual arriving in the Philippines who may have received vaccination for COVID-19 in other countries/jurisdictions shall still be required to observe the mandatory testing and quarantine protocols.

Metro Manila, 7 other areas under GCQ until January 31 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   January 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Metro Manila and seven other areas in the country will still be under general community quarantine (GCQ) classification until the end of January, Malacañang said Friday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte extended the GCQ classification for Metro Manila, Santiago City, Batangas, Tacloban City, Iligan City, Lanao del Sur, Davao City, and Davao del Norte.

The rest of the country are placed under modified general community quarantine, he added.

The risk-level classifications take effect from January 1 until January 31, 2021.

Duterte earlier said the continued community quarantine restriction was to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus disease.

The Philippines has so far recorded a total of 475,820 COVID-19 infections with 439,895 recoveries and 9,248 fatalities. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Gov’t agencies to issue guidelines on use of face shields, IATF says

Robie de Guzman   •   December 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID) on Friday said that government agencies will come up with a consolidated guidelines on the proper use of  face shields, including exclusions or exemptions.

The IATF said the consolidated advisory will be released by the Department of Health (DOH). Department of Trade and Industry, and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and other agencies.

The task force’s directive comes after Malacañang’s announcement on the mandatory use of face mask and full-coverage face shields when leaving their homes.

The government previously required the wearing of face shields only in establishments and public transport.

Health authorities earlier said the latest policy is necessary to curb the spread of novel coronavirus disease.

The Philippines has so far recorded 454,447 COVID-19 infections with 8,850 deaths.

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