Mabigat na trapiko, naranasan sa Metro Manila sa unang araw ng pagbabalik-operasyon ng mga kumpanya

Robie de Guzman   •   May 18, 2020   •   240

MANILA, Philippines – Mabigat na trapiko ang naranasan sa ilang lansangan sa Metro Manila ngayong Lunes, Mayo 18 kasunod ng pagbabalik-operasyon ng ilang kumpaya sa ilalim ng modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

Sa ulat ni UNTV Correspondent Asher Cadapan, Jr. sa Ito ang Balita, partikular na naranasan ang mabagal na daloy ng mga sasakyan sa Marcos Highway na boundary ng mga lungsod ng Pasig at Antipolo.

Ayon kay Edison “Bong” Nebrija, ang EDSA Traffic Czar ng Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), bumigat ang trapiko dahil sa ipinatutupad pa ring quarantine control points o checkpoints.

Mas naging dama aniya ang bagal ng galaw ng trapiko dahil sa mataas na volume ng sasakyang nasa kalsada ngayong araw kumpara noong naka-ECQ pa ang Metro Manila at mas limitado ang mga taong pinapayagang lumabas ng kanilang tahanan.

“Iba na y’ong volume ng vehicles kapag nasa general community quarantine at saka MECQ. Mas marami na po ngayon at very significant y’ong naging delay sa mga checkpoint because of the volume. Siyempre, marami po talaga mag-i-inspect saka hahaba po talaga y’ong queueing na tinatawag,” ani Nebrija.

Nasa ilalim na ng MECQ ang ilang lugar, kabilang na ang Metro Manila simula noong May 16.

Sa ilalim ng hakbang na ito, pinapayagan ang pagbalik ng kalahating porsyento ng operasyon at workforce ng mga negosyo at opisina ngunit obligado silang magpatupad ng safety at health protocols.

Kailangan ding maghanda sila ng shuttle bus o kaya ay mga pribadong sasakyan na maghahatid-sundo sa mga empleyado lalo’t suspindido pa rin ang operasyon ng public transportation sa ilalim ng MECQ.

Gayunman, limitado lang ang maaaring isakay rito at kailangang nakasunod sa physical distancing ang mga pasahero sang-ayon sa guidelines na inilabas ng Inter-Agency Task for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID.)

Bunsod nito, mas dumami ang mga sasakyang bumibiyahe sa Metro Manila, pati na ang mga nagbibisikleta sa kalye.

Ayon kay Nebrija, inaasahan na nila ito dahil sa limited seating capacity ng mga sasakyang papayagang bumiyahe sa ilalim ng MECQ.

Upang matiyak ang kaligtasan ng mga taong pipiliing mag-bisikleta na lamang papasok sa kanilang trabaho, sinabi ng MMDA official na pinag-uusapan na ng mga kinauukulang ahensiya ang paglalagay ng “protected bike lanes” sa kahabaan ng EDSA.

“It’s on the table already na papaano natin bibigyan ng bike lane; hindi lang basta-basta bike lane lalong lalo na sa EDSA kundi protected bike lane,” ani Nebrija.

“Kasi ‘pag nag-transition na tayo sa GCQ, everybody will be there and we do not want na ma-mix y’ong mga bisikleta sa with private vehicles, public transport or motorcycles,” dagdag pa niya.

Samantala, nilinaw rin ni Nebrija na nananatiling suspindido ang number coding scheme sa Metro Manila upang magamit ng mga empleyado ang pribado nilang sasakyan sa pagpasok sa trabaho. – RRD

MGCQ not yet possible in NCR – Malacañang

Marje Pelayo   •   July 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Community quarantine measures may not be relaxed yet in the National Capital Region (NCR), according to National Task Force against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Sec. Carlito Galvez.

Galvez said areas with high cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are likely to remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) if the situation will not improve.

He noted the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in the NCR and the region’s hospital occupancy has already reached 70% in the past five days.

On July 15, the existing community quarantine measures across the country will lapse and President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to announce the government’s decision as to which quarantine restriction should the NCR be placed beginning July 16.

However, Malacañang said the numbers cannot yet justify Metro Manila’s shift from GCQ to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). 

“Datos po ang tinitingnan natin. Kung tayo po ay magluluwag, siguro po at this point, the data does not indicate na pwedeng magluwag at least sa Metro Manila, para lang po to manage expectations [We are looking into data. If we are to ease (restrictions) at this point, the data does not indicate that we can ease at least in Metro Manila, just to manage expectations],” explained Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Galvez also stressed that even Metro Manila mayors recommended retaining the GCQ in their respective areas or implementing hybrid status which means opening all businesses while observing safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Galvez noted, however, that there are other areas where stricter quarantine restrictions will be imposed starting July 16. 

Mayroon pong nag-escalate, at mga area na ito ay nakita nating nagkaroon ng new cases at spikes [There are areas that escalated. And these areas are where new cases and spikes were reported],” Galvez concluded. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

MMDA suspends work from July 9-10 after 4 workers contract COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Danilo Lim on Tuesday announced that work at the agency’s headquarters will be suspended from Thursday, July 9 to Friday, July to give way to the complete sanitation and disinfection of all its offices and adjacent premises.

This is after four MMDA personnel tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) when they underwent mass rapid testing and confirmatory swab test.

“Upon the recommendation of the MMDA COVID-19 Committee, we have decided to suspend the operations at all our offices for sanitation and disinfection to protect not only our personnel but also the transacting public against the virus,” Lim said in a statement.

All personnel will be allowed to go home at 2 p.m. on Wednesday as their workplaces will undergo sanitation and disinfection procedures until Sunday, July 12.

Lim said that no employee shall be allowed to enter any office during the sanitation and disinfection period.

The MMDA chief assured that the offices of those who tested positive have already been placed on lockdown and sanitized. Contact tracing has also been conducted and people who had close contact with them were ordered to strictly comply with the 14-day quarantine period and were subjected to swab tests.

“We assure the public that our offices will resume operations as soon as we have completed the sanitation and disinfection of our all offices by Monday,” Lim said.

Others employees who tested positive in the rapid test were made to undergo swab test and quarantine, according to protocol.

The MMDA has its own isolation facility to accommodate employees exposed to persons with COVID-19, tested positive on rapid test, and for those awaiting swab test results.

The 800-square meter isolation facility, located at the MMDA’s parking area, has two sections – one for suspect and probable cases.

Each section of the isolation facility has a 24-bed capacity equipped with shower rooms, comfort rooms and lavatories. The rooms are fully-air conditioned, with WI-FI connection and are regularly cleaned and sanitized. Free meals are also provided.

The MMDA’s Medical Clinic is also closely monitoring and providing guidance and assistance to employees.

Meanwhile, the MMDA said it has put in place protocols for visitors entering the building to prevent spread of COVID-19.

The agency’s guidelines state that all visitors with official business with the agency shall initially stay in the reception area for verification if the visitor will be allowed to go to the concerned office.

Strictly no personal visits are allowed for the meantime given the high risk of COVID-19 transmission at this period.

Moreover, delivery personnel shall not be allowed to go straight to the office or area of the ordering or recipient entity. All deliveries shall be transacted only at the reception lobby.

Likewise, visitors need to fill-up health declaration form with contact details for contact tracing purpose. “This pandemic is a difficult time for all of us and we must do everything we can to protect our personnel and visitors,” Lim said.

Metro Manila may revert to ECQ if COVID-19 situation worsens — Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   July 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Metro Manila may return to stricter enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) if the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation worsens in the capital region.

In a televised press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the government may possibly reimpose ECQ on Metro Manila if hospitals in the region hit maximum capacity due to surge in COVID-19 cases.

“Pag lumala talaga, at mawalan tayo ng critical care capacity o di kaya ay case doubling rate ay bumalik sa dati na napakabilis, wala po tayong alternatibo,” he said.

“Yun nga po ang pinapakiusap sa ating kababayan, pag tayo bumalik sa mas estriktong quarantine, baka wala na po tayong hanapbuhay na pwedeng gawin,” he added.

Roque issued the statement after the country recorded a record-high 2,434 additional cases on Sunday, bringing the total cases to 44,254. Most of these infections were reported in Metro Manila.

Metro Manila is currently under general community quarantine where public transport and some business sectors have been allowed to resume operations at a limited capacity.

It was previously placed under ECQ for more than two months.

The Department of Health earlier said that the spike in infections was due to increased physical contact of the public following the easing of quarantine restrictions.

But Roque said the government had no choice but to loosen the quarantine measures in order to revitalize the economy.

“Wala naman tayong alternatibo kundi magbukas ng ekonomiya… Kung di pa po natin mabubuksan, mamya buhay nga tayo, mamatay naman tayo dahil wala tayong hanapbuhay,” he said.

The Palace official, meanwhile, belied reports that hospitals in Metro Manila have reached full capacity amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Roque said that as of July 5, Metro Manila’s critical care utilization is still at 63 percent or moderate risk level.

He also clarified that many hospitals have yet to breach the 30 percent hospital bed capacity for coronavirus patients.

“Nililinaw po namin na yung mga kumakalat na fake news na ubos na raw po ang hospital beds sa ating mga ospital, di po yan totoo,” he said.

Roque also revealed that Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega has been designated to head the Hospital One Incident Command which will determine the critical care utilization and hospital care capacity rate. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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