Quezon City gov’t imposes stricter market rules vs COVID-19 spread

Robie de Guzman   •   April 16, 2020   •   353

MANILA, Philippines – The Quezon City government on Thursday said it will implement stricter measures in all public markets in the city in an effort to further stop the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, the city government said it has instructed all city- and privately-owned markets to compute their vacant space or walkway-to-per individual ratio, and observe a space at least one square meter each person to ensure the strict enforcement of physical distancing.

“Kung ang walkway nila ay may sukat na 20 square meters, dapat ang papapasukin lang sa palengke ay dalawampung katao. Inaatasan din natin ang market owners na maging responsable sa pagpapatupad ng kaayusan ng pila papasok sa kanilang palengke,” Assistant City Administrator for Operations Alberto Kimpo said.

Market authorities are likewise directed to designate single entry and exit points in every market to prevent mass entry.

Sinks, clean water, and alcohol for handwashing must also be made available and placed near the market entrances and exits.

“Handwashing areas should be accessible to the public, even inside our markets. We ultimately want to stop this virus from spreading,” said Retired Police Colonel Procorpio Lipana, the City’s Market Development and Administration Department (MDAD) Head for Operations.

All vendors are also required to wear face masks and gloves.

Market-goers are likewise asked to wear face masks at all times and to present their quarantine passes.

“Maglalagay din tayo ng CCTV monitors lalo na sa mga malalaking palengke para mabantayan at masiguro natin ang kanilang kaayusan,” Kimpo said.

The city government said that all markets in Quezon City will be open for business from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

It also directed barangays to coordinate with nearby markets to assign a specific day or time of the week where their constituents can buy essential goods from the said markets.

To prevent overcrowding in pubic markets, the city government said it will continue to provide alternative sources of goods such as the deployment of Fresh Market on wheels to different barangays to sell fresh produce as initiated by small business and cooperatives in the city.

Similarly, the Kadiwa Mobile Markets in partnership with the Department of Agriculture will also make regular rounds bringing fruits, vegetables, and other goods straight to homes and communities.

The city government also said it will ask all supermarkets and groceries to extend operating hours from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily to accommodate more shoppers for the purpose of lessening crowds in local markets.

Mayor Joy Belmonte, meanwhile, stressed that private market owners and their stall owners are responsible for maintaining the volume of market-goers inside a market at any given time to ensure that proper social distancing is observed.

“We understand that our residents still need to go out and buy their essentials such as food. That’s why we make sure to keep them safe by enforcing the protocols of social distancing and the wearing of facemasks,” she said.

Duterte to announce new quarantine status; not sure of MGCQ for Metro Manila

Marje Pelayo   •   July 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is set to meet with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 on Wednesday evening (July 15) to discuss the next steps with regard to the implementation of community quarantine in different parts of the country. 

He is expected to decide on the new quarantine status that will take effect on Thursday, July 16. 

According to Malacañang, there was no mention in the previous IATF meeting about easing quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila.

Specifically, there was no discussion about the shifting from general community quarantine (GCQ) to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) in the National Capital Region considering the increase in the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases and the full utilization of the region’s critical care capacity. 

“Hindi ko po alam dahil sa huling meeting ng IATF talagang hindi po na-discuss ang MGCQ for Metro Manila (I have no idea because in the previous IATF meeting there was no discussion about MGCQ for Metro Manila),” noted Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque. 

The Philippines has entered the fourth month since the government imposed community quarantine orders due to the outbreak of COVID-19. 

Roque assured, meanwhile, that the NCR’s hospitals have enough beds for COVID-19 patients despite the announcement of Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega that the region’s intensive care system has now reached the danger zone. 

“Ang pakiusap lang natin sa mga pasyente, makinig lang po tayo kung saan tayo dapat pumunta at huwag na tayong mag-insist (We only ask that patients listed [to authorities] where they are supposed to go and not insist [on what they want]),” Roque stressed.

“Huwag na tayong mag-worry kung puno ang isang ospital, ire-refer naman po kayo sa iba pang ospital, (Do not worry if the hospital is full because you will be accommodated in other hospitals),” he added. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

DND main office in Camp Aguinaldo on 3-day lockdown

Marje Pelayo   •   July 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The main office of the Department of National Defense (DND) in Camp Aguinaldo has been placed under lockdown after one of its personnel contracted coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In an advisory, the agency said the office premises will undergo disinfection on the duration of the lockdown. 

The agency will reopen on Friday (July 17).

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana himself earlier announced that one of the staff was tested positive for COVID-19, which prompted the official to volunteer for self-quarantine.

Based on the result of his COVID-19 released today, Lorenzana said he is negative of the disease. MNP (with details from Lea Ylagan)

Drive-thru COVID-19 testing center opens in Manila

Robie de Guzman   •   July 15, 2020

The Manila City government on Wednesday opened its own drive-thru novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing center in a bid to boost its mass testing capacity amid rising cases of infection.

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said the testing center is open to all residents and non-residents who wish to avail of the service free of charge.

The facility is open from Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Domagoso said they only need to bring a government-issued ID to get tested in the drive-thru testing facility located in front of the Andres Bonifacio Monument along P. Burgos Street.

Blood samples collected from those who were tested will then be processed by the city government’s newly-purchased serology testing machines which have a combined capacity of 89,600 tests per month.

These machines also have an accuracy rate of 99.6 percent.

However, those who will yield positive results will still have to undergo confirmatory swab testing. – RRD (details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

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