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

Robie de Guzman   •   August 31, 2020   •   233

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)

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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