MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has lifted the travel restrictions it imposed on Taiwan due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Malacañang announced Friday.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has resolved to lift the travel restrictions imposed upon Taiwan because of strict measures being undertaken by the Taiwanese government to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Panelo said the lifting of the ban is effective immediately.
“Accordingly, travel may now be made by any national to Taiwan from the Philippines and vice versa,” he said.
The Philippines this week included Taiwan in its travel restrictions initially imposed on China and its special administrative regions affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
A Philippine health official explained that Taiwan was included in the ban as the World Health Organization recognizes it as a part of China.
Malacañang later on said the temporary ban was imposed for the safety of the Filipino people and not due to politics.
The travel restriction was criticized by Taiwan, stressing that it had only 18 cases of the virus compared to some 60,000 in China.
Taiwan threatened to implement countermeasures against the Philippines, including scrapping visa-free privileges for Filipinos if it keeps the entry ban.
Several Filipinos currently working and those en route to Taiwan also appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to lift the ban, expressing fears of losing their jobs.
Panelo also said the task force would also evaluate on whether to lift the ban on other Chinese jurisdictions given preventive protocols implemented against the deadly virus.
“The Office of the President likewise stresses that any resolution relative to travel restrictions in connection with the COVID-19 shall be subjected to regular review by the IATF,” he said.
MANILA, Philippines — The local government of Mandaluyong has put all barangays in the city under special concern lockdown amid the implementation of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila.
Eleven barangays in the city are classified as areas of special concern by the local government due to high cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
But with the reversion of the National Capital Region (NCR) to MECQ on Tuesday (Aug. 4), the Mandaluyong government decided to put the whole city on special concern lockdown.
Mandaluyong’s Executive Order (EO) No 24 stated that under special concern lockdown, stricter curfew measures will be implemented from 8:00 PM to 5:00 AM.
Only individuals classified as Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APOR) will be allowed to go out.
The city government is also mulling over applying the previous MECQ guidelines anew, such as on scheduling market days in every barangay.
With the start of the curfew on Tuesday night, the local government advises those who work on graveyard shifts to secure a work pass from their employers.
“Yung mga work passes kasi ang requirements lang naman niyan per barangay is to ahow to the barangay their ano certificate of employment. para atleast kahit papaano, makapasok sila sa trabaho nila,” said Jimmy Isidro, the Mandaluyong City government chief of staff.
The city government is also considering enforcing liquor ban in the area anew during the MECQ.
Employees at the Mandaluyong City Hall are also on a skeleton workforce to receive documents and transactions as business in the city is open as usual. — (with details from Vincent Arboleda) /mbmf
MANILA, Philippines — Former Covid-19 National Task Force Adviser Dr. Tony Leachon said he recommended the re-imposition of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila when he was invited to the Malacañan Palace on July 15.
Last weekend, medical professionals expressed the same recommendation to the national government in hopes of stopping the mounting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.
But because of economic considerations, the government has decided to reinforce modified ECQ instead.
Leachon said he welcomes this decision.
“The MECQ has activity and mobility of 50 percent. It will not totally stop the transmission,” he noted.
“But we will observe in the next two weeks whether the MECQ will arrest the transmission,” he added.
He explained that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country is alarming considering that there are unreported cases, or even deaths linked to the new coronavirus.
“When they go to the emergency room they are severely sick then would be intubated and they die, or they are rejected from the hospital so they die at home, or they don’t have access to RT-PCR because it’s expensive” Leachon explained.
“So ang daming namamatay diyan na ganyan (So, many cases die that way )” he added.
At this point of the pandemic, Leachon is calling on the public to submit themselves to a voluntary ECQ especially the old and the sick.
“Tayo na ang magboluntaryo mismo na huwag na tayo makadagdag. Ang lumabas na lang ay iyong talagang kailangang lumabas, iyong 50% ng workforce (Let’s take it upon ourselves not to add to the problem. Only those who need to go out should be outside, such as 50% of the workforce),” Leachon advised.
“Pero iyong iba, iyong 25% doon sa GCQ ay huwag na po. Huwag na, kasi kapag nagkasakit kayo wala ng pera nga ang government tapos baka magkasakit pa ang mga doktor (But others, the 25% in the GCQ areas, it’s better not to go out. Refrain from going out because once you get sick, the government no longer has funds and worse, the doctors might get sick as well)” he stressed.
Dr. Leachon also highlights the importance of adhering to the minimum health standards, including wearing a face mask and face shield, and using disinfectant for protection. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
Consumers in Metro Manila flocked to grocery stores after President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday night, approved the reversion of some areas to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) in response to the medical frontliners’ plea for a two-week “timeout”.
This prompted Malacañang on Monday to remind the public not to panic buy amid the implementation of MECQ in the National Capital Region (NCR).
“Walang dahilan para mag-panic buying. Supplies are high, delivered in supermarkets in anticipation of bigger demand prior to MECQ,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
The Palace official reiterated that only essential establishments will remain open including supermarkets, banks, and hospitals. He also said that the “time out” will be used to strengthen the government’s testing, tracing, and treatment of COVID-19.
“This is primarily to accede to the demand of the frontliners for a break. A ‘time out,'” Roque said. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)
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