PH gov’t OKs priority vaccination of delegates for Tokyo Olympics, SEA Games

Robie de Guzman   •   May 21, 2021   •   463

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government will prioritize the COVID-19 vaccination of Filipino athletes and other delegates participating in the Tokyo Olympics and Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) approved the Technical Working Group’s recommendation to the Interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (iNITAG) to allow the early vaccination of athletes, coaches, delegates and officials who will represent the country in the two major sporting events.

Roque said the IATF approved the latest policy during a meeting on Thursday.

The Palace official also announced that the IATF likewise approved the conduct of a bubble-type training of athletes participating the said events “subject to the applicable guidelines of the Philippine Sports Commission, the Games and Amusement Board and the Department of Health.”

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics is set be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021. The SEA Games, on the other hand, is scheduled to run from November 21 to December 2 in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the request of the Philippine Swimming Incorporated to host the 2021 Swimming National Selection Meet under a bubble-type format at the New Clark City Aquatics Center, Capas, Tarlac has also been approved by the IATF, Roque said.

“In this connection, the delegates of the National Selection Meet shall be considered as Authorized Persons Outside of Residence and shall be allowed interzonal travel,” he added.

Philippines adds more countries to COVID-19 ‘red list’

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has updated its list of “red, yellow, and green” countries and territories, Malacañang said Friday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the revised list of areas that are classified as “red, yellow, and green.”

“This new classification shall take effect on September 19, 2021 until September 30, 2021,” Roque said.

Territories under the red list are considered as “high-risk.”

The red list will now include Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Serbia and Slovenia.

The government earlier said that inbound passengers, regardless of their vaccination status, coming from or have been to “red” nations are not allowed to enter the Philippines.

Filipinos returning to the Philippines through government-facilitated or non-government repatriation programs, as well as special commercial flights allowed under existing IATF resolutions are not covered by the travel restrictions.

Meanwhile, areas included in the “green” list are as follows:

  • American Samoa
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cameroon
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chad
  • China
  • Comoros
  • Republic of the Congo
  • Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea
  • Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
  • Gabon
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Madagascar
  • Mali
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Montserrat
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand
  • Niger
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Palau
  • Poland
  • Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of Netherlands)
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  • Sierra Leone
  • Sint Eustatius
  • Taiwan
  • Algeria
  • Bhutan
  • Cook Islands
  • Eritrea
  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • Nauru
  • Nicaragua
  • Niue
    North Korea
  • Saint Helena
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Tajikstan
  • Tanzania
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu
  • Yemen

 

Green countries are those considered “low-risk” for COVID-19 based on disease incidence rate.

All other countries/territories/jurisdictions not mentioned are in the yellow list, Roque said.

Inbound passengers, regardless of their vaccination status, coming from or who have been to the “yellow” countries within 14 days prior to their arrival in the Philippines are required to undergo strict entry, testing and quarantine protocols.

Metro Manila to be under Alert Level 4 by September 16

Maris Federez   •   September 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) announced Tuesday that the National Capital Region will be placed under Alert Level 4 beginning September 16, the start of the implementation of the new alert levels system amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

DILG  Secretary Eduardo Año said that Metro Manila mayors have agreed to implement the said alert level as a whole.

Based on the IATF issued guidelines, areas under Alert Level 4  are those with COVID-19 case counts that are high or increasing, and the total bed capacity and ICU beds are at a high utilization rate.

Those who are not allowed outside their residences under Alert Level 4 are:

  • persons below 18 years old,
  • those who are over 65 years of age,
  • those with immunodeficiencies, comorbidities, or other health risks; and
  • pregnant women

The said individuals, however, will be allowed to go out to access or obtain essential goods and services, or for work in permitted industries and offices.

Also, intrazonal and interzonal travel for persons not otherwise required to remain at their residences may be allowed subject to the reasonable regulations of the LGU of destination.

Individual outdoor exercises shall be allowed for all ages regardless of comorbidities or vaccination status but shall be limited within the general area of their residence, e.g. within the barangay, purok, subdivision, and/or village.

Outdoor or al fresco dine-in services in restaurants and eateries will operate at a maximum of 30%  venue/seating capacity regardless of vaccination status.

Indoor dine-in services may be allowed at a limited 10%  venue/seating capacity but will cater only to individuals fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in addition to their allowed outdoor or alfresco capacity. Their workers must also be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Personal care services limited to barbershops, hair spas, nail spas, and beauty salons will be allowed at a maximum of 30% venue/seating capacity if such services are conducted outdoors regardless of vaccination status.

These establishments are also allowed to operate at a limited 10% indoor venue/seating capacity but may only cater to individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in addition to their allowed outdoor capacities.

Government agencies will operate at least 20% capacity while applying work-from-home arrangements.

In-person religious gatherings shall be allowed at a maximum of 30% venue/seating capacity if conducted outdoors regardless of vaccination status.

These gatherings may be allowed at a limited 10% venue/seating capacity but may accommodate only individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in addition to their allowed outdoor capacities.

Provided, that pastors, priests, rabbis, imams, or other religious ministers and the assistants of these religious congregations have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 shall be allowed, provided that the same shall be limited to immediate family members, upon satisfactory proof of their relationship with the deceased and with full compliance with the prescribed minimum public health standards.

Restaurant owners ask gov’t for business amelioration programs and tax incentives

Marje Pelayo   •   September 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Restaurant Owners of the Philippines (Resto PH) said that they can no longer stand the impact of COVID-19 on their industry.

With a limited number of diners and being totally closed during the implementation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), restaurant owners said their operation now is unsustainable.

Resto PH president Eric Teng said they should not be considered as non-essential services but rather among the so-called “disabled” industry.

As is the case with persons with disability (PWD) who are entitled to discounts, Teng said they are also asking the government to provide them with the same privileges such as tax incentives and social and business ameliorations.

“We shouldn’t pay full taxes when we’re only allowed 10% capacity. We should have a 90% discount for our taxes or other permits and fees or if 50%, we should also be supported half way. Because we cannot continue supporting our employees’ livelihood without any income for much longer,” Teng said.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año understands the predicament of the group saying the government will look into their appeal.

“Along with the personal care, iyong dine-in, they are considered as doon sa close contact na merong restrictions because when you eat syempre nagtatanggal ka ng mask,” Año said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is now mulling over the plea of some members of the private sector and the Metro Manila Council to allow more mobility for vaccinated residents of the National Capital Region. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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