LTFRB mulls resuming operations of provincial buses from Metro Manila

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 16, 2020   •   901

After six months of temporary suspension due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Land Transportation Franchise and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is now eyeing to resume operations of provincial buses from Metro Manila.

LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra said they are continuously preparing and coordinating with several local governments on the possible return of provincial buses.

However, there are still provinces that continue to ban the entry of travelers from Metro Manila. Delgra said only Antique, Quirino, and Bataan agreed to open its doors to buses coming from Metro Manila.

“Whatever the case may be, we need to closely coordinate with the LGUs concerned because at the end of every trip it is the LGU that will receive and manage passengers in their respective jurisdictions,” he said.

Meanwhile, several local officials recommended a point-to-point scheme for provincial buses. The LTFRB reiterated they will also consider the areas along the route of the buses.

“They are suggesting na parang point to point po iyong pagbi-biyahe,” Delgra said.

Provincial bus operators have been appealing to the government to allow the resumption of their operations even if its on a limited capacity. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

Metro Manila hospitals report increase in COVID-19 admissions; most cases are unvaccinated

Marje Pelayo   •   August 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The number of admitted COVID-19 patients in some major hospitals in Metro Manila this week has doubled— even tripled — compared to previous weeks.

The COVID-19 ward at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), is currently fully occupied with 131 patients. Inside the emergency room, more coronavirus cases await admission.

The hospital management said they are likely to establish modular tents if numbers continue to rise.

“Malaki na ito, malaki na because we are worried na mapupuno na naman ang aming emergency room at saka sa room sa itaas that we may have to limit admission sa mga renal patient lamang na may COVID, kidney patient na may COVID kasi wala kaming paglalagyan na,” said NKTI executive director Dr. Rosemarie Liquete.

Meanwhile, the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) has 154 admitted COVID patients, almost reaching its full bed capacity of 225.

Hospital administrators have noted that most of the recent COVID-19 admissions are unvaccinated patients.

“Iyon pong mga nasa ospital po sa PGH ngayon 85% po ay unvaccinated at lahat ng nasa ICU ay unvaccinated. Kaya ibig sabihin ay talaga kung hindi ka bakunado mas malamang severe ang mararanasan mo na COVID,” said PGH spokesperson Dr. Jose Jonas Del Rosario.

At Tala Hospital in Caloocan City, the number of cases tripled from 54 last week to 165 this week.

The hospital announced that admission of non-COVID-19 patients is only until Friday (August 6) because on Monday (August 9), they are converting other rooms into COVID-19 wards.

In these three hospitals, a number of healthcare workers still contracted COVID-19 but in lower numbers than before  and their symptoms are milder than those previously infected.

Hospital administrators attribute this to the fact that their healthcare workers have received COVID-19 vaccine.

Based on the contact tracing conducted among healthcare workers in Tala Hospital, infected personnel appear to have contracted the virus outside their workplaces.

“Alam mo na kung ano ginagawa sa labas. Magpa-party, pupunta ng palengke, mga family gatherings, yun ang most common na mga reasons on why maraming mga healthcare workers ang nahawa ng COVID-19,” noted Dr Alfonso Victorino Famaran, medical chief of Dr. Jose Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium (Tala Hospital).

Meanwhile, private hospitals say their bed capacity has yet to reach critical level, though similar to government hospitals, the number of COVID-19 patients coming into their care has also increased.

“Hindi pa naman karamihan yung critical yung occupancy rate. Medyo ang karamihan ngayon ay nandoon pa tayo sa mga high risk. Ibig sabihin less than 80% pa lang ang occupancy ng ibang mga ospital,” Dr. Jose Rene de Grano, president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. said.

If they decide to increase their bed capacity for COVID-19 patients, they will need additional nurses to cover the job.

Hospital managements are appealing to the public to cooperate with the implementation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to help curb virus transmission.  MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

QC gov’t sets limits on purchase of goods, tells barangays to issue pass during ECQ

Robie de Guzman   •   August 4, 2021

The government of Quezon City announced it will impose a cap on the number of items or goods that a person can purchase during the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila.

In a statement on Wednesday, the city government said it has set some limits on the purchase of goods to avoid hoarding and panic buying.

In the latest ECQ guidelines issued by the city government, the Business Permits and Licensing Department (BPLD) has been mandated to implement Ordinance No. SP-2948 S-2020 or “Regulating the Selling of Basic Necessities During Calamities.”

“We have to impose limits to avoid panic buying and hoarding that may lead to supply problems and could prevent other citizens from purchasing the needs of their families during the ECQ,” Belmonte said.

“Mas mabuti na ngayon pa lang ay nakalatag na ang polisiyang ito upang magkaroon ng pagkakataon ang lahat na makabili ng kanilang pangangailangan,” she added.

Under the said ordinance, a customer may only purchase five cans per brand of sardines while the purchase of other canned goods such as meat loaf and corned beef is limited to 10 cans per brand, among other goods.

Belmonte, however, assured residents that there is enough food supply in Quezon City while the delivery of goods will remain unhampered during the ECQ.

The local policy will take effect on midnight of August 6.

Metro Manila will be placed under ECQ from August 6 to 20. During this period, curfew hours will start from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. as agreed earlier by the Metro Manila Council.

Under the ECQ protocol, only persons going to and from work, authorized persons outside of residence (APOR) and those who have confirmed vaccination schedules are allowed to go out.

Dine-in, whether indoor or outdoor, is not allowed but restaurants and other food establishments may provide take-out or delivery services.

Belmonte also ordered the revival of quarantine passes issued by the barangay to no more than one person per household, preferably to a person who is fully-vaccinated and otherwise does not have a company ID or other APOR ID.

A ban on the selling of liquor and the operation of personal care services such as barbershops, nail spas, parlors and salons will also be implemented.

The mayor also mandated essential businesses that operate indoor facilities, such as supermarkets, palengkes and the like, to limit their capacity to ensure at least a two-meter distance among customers and ensure sufficient ventilation.

Business establishments allowed to operate should strictly implement the Kyusi Pass digital contact tracing method.

“A lessee inside a larger establishment (such as individual stores inside a mall) should also have its own KyusiPass contact tracing log. All establishments, institutions and facilities are required to provide their QR code scanners as mandated under the City’s Kyusi Pass Ordinance,” the city government said.

No decision to place Calabarzon under ECQ — NTF

Robie de Guzman   •   August 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 on Wednesday denied rumors that the entire Calabarzon region will also be placed under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) level to curb the further spread of COVID-19 cases.

“Wala pong desisyon na ganyan,” NTF deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon said in a televised public briefing when asked about the circulating posts on Calabarzon being placed under the strictest lockdown status.

Based on the latest announcement of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), only Metro Manila would be placed under ECQ from August 6 to 20.

In Calabarzon, only the province of Laguna will be placed under modified ECQ, while Lucena City in Quezon province, Cavite, and Rizal will be under general community quarantine with heightened restrictions until August 15.

Batangas and the whole province of Quezon, meanwhile, will be under GCQ from August 1 to 31.

The summary of the latest quarantine classifications has been posted in the NTF’s official social media account.

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