PH gov’t looking at imposing month-long community quarantine restrictions

Robie de Guzman   •   August 31, 2020   •   127

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s inter-agency task force against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is looking at implementing community quarantine for a longer-term period instead of the usual half-month period.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has been discussing the imposition of month-long community quarantine classifications.

Lopez said this aims to provide stability in the operation of businesses and other sectors as the quarantine level dictates the type of business activities, as well as travel restrictions, allowed in a certain area.

“In other words, baka hindi na 14 days baka one month… Ang pinaka-benefit nito, of course, may stability sa ating pagkilos sa pag-prepare ng reopening ng economy at hindi magbago-bago in 14 to 15 days,” he said.

“Kasi kung nag-move na tayo towards more community granular lockdown, mas ‘yun ang kailangang ma-perfect natin,” he added.

Since the start of the pandemic, the government has been implementing community quarantine classifications every two weeks.

Parts of the country were placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), followed by the modified ECQ, GCQ and modified GCQ depending on the rate of infections.

Lopez said around 70 percent of the country’s economy has been reopened since the imposition of a more relaxed quarantine status. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

IATF to study mayors’ bid to retain Metro Manila under GCQ after Sept. 30 – Año

Robie de Guzman   •   September 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Most mayors in the National Capital Region (NCR) are in favor of extending the general community quarantine (GCQ) being implemented in the region, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said on Friday.

Año said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) will meet on Sunday, Sept. 27 to discuss the recommendation of the Metro Manila Council on the next quarantine status in NCR by October.

“Maraming mga mayors ng NCR ang gusto pa rin mag-GCQ pero depende pa rin sa usapan sa Sunday,” he said.

Metro Manila is under GCQ until Sept. 30 as earlier recommended by the IATF and approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Año said they will thoroughly discuss the Metro Manila mayors’ proposal in order to balance the factors of public health and economy which has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Dalawa ‘yan: mahigpit na MGCQ o maluwag na GCQ. Kapag titignan mo mas maganda talaga na naka-GCQ tayo kahit magluwag ka ng konti pero meron kang talagang mas mataaas na panuntunan kaysa yung nag MGCQ ka pagkatapos hihigpitan mo,” he said.

The Department of Trade and Industry earlier said that Metro Manila could be placed under modified GCQ as this would allow the reopening of more industries to help revive the economy.

The IATF is also set to meet with Duterte on Sunday night to discuss the next quarantine classifications in NCR. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Facility-based isolation for asymptomatic, mild COVID-19 cases now mandatory

Marje Pelayo   •   September 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is now requiring facility-based isolation for confirmed asymptomatic and mild coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases through IATF Resolution 74.

The new policy however, exempts patients who are considered vulnerable or having comorbidities and their home meets the conditions specified in the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Joint Administrative Order 2020-0001. 

Likewise, another exception is when the Ligtas COVID-19 Centers within the region are fully occupied and the local government unit does not have sufficient isolation facilities.

Boracay Island to open on Oct. 1 for residents from GCQ areas

Marje Pelayo   •   September 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force has approved the proposed reopening of Boracay Island starting October 1 following recommendation from the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Such a move is part of the government’s recovery efforts from the impact of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The resumption of tourism in Boracay would mean residents from areas under general community quarantine, including Metro Manila will soon be allowed to enter the island.

However, the government reminds the public of the strict health and safety protocols that go with the reopening of the famous tourist destination.

One of which is mandatory swab testing for all visitors before they can be allowed entry.

“Isa sa mga requirements na pinag-uusapan iyong RT-PCR (test) bago pumasok doon sa isla (One requirement under discussion is the RT-PCR test before entering the island),” noted Tourism Undersecretary Benito Benzon.

“Mayroon pa ring pagmomonitor ng movements ng mga turista pagpasok sa Boracay, so kailangan may pre-arranged reservations ,may QR code iyan para namomonitor lahat ng pumapasok (Monitoring the movement of tourists inside Boracay remains in place so they need to have pre-arranged reservations, QR code, to monitor every person that comes in),” he added.

For his part, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año assured that Boracay is now prepared to accept visitors. 

If in any case, a COVID-19 positive slips into the island, the agency has prepared enough facilities for isolation.

“Doon mismo sa Boracay ay mayroon tayong COVID isolation facility doon. Kung mayroong mag-positive or suspected, dadalhin agad sa mainland [Aklan] (There is a COVID isolation facility inside Boracay. In case someone tests positive or suspected of having the disease, the patient will be transferred immediately to the mainland [Aklan]),” the official said.

Well in place ang nakita namin preparations nila (Their preparations are well in place),” he assured. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

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