By Chito Chavez
The Quezon City government said on Saturday (May 9) that it will propose a shift to a transition period of general community quarantine (GCQ) after the lapse of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) on May 15.
Mayor Joy Belmonte said she will submit her proposal at the meeting of the Metro Manila mayors on Saturday afternoon.
While the final decision rests with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), the Quezon City government prefers to implement a transition period to GCQ until May 31.
Belmonte said this will allow business establishments to adapt to localized guidelines currently being developed in anticipation of a “new normal” setting as an impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She explained that the localized guidelines intend to jumpstart the revival of the local economy while ensuring the safety of the city’s residents through the implementation of strict health protocols in business establishments to prevent the further spread of the disease.
“Necessary preventive measures should be in place and the health and safety of workers and customers must be guaranteed before we allow them to operate again,” Belmonte said.
As of Friday (May 8), the city has recorded 1,156 positive COVID cases as confirmed by the Quezon City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (QC-ESU).
In the same report, there were also 337 recoveries and 134 deaths in a population of approximately four million that includes transients and those stranded as a result of the ECQ.
The city has three local government hospitals and hosts more than 30 private and national government hospitals and healthcare facilities that may contribute to the city government’s COVID-related response.
“While the health of our residents remains our primary priority, we also need to look after the local economy, which has been affected severely by the dreaded virus,” Belmonte noted.
QC localized guidelines
Under the localized guidelines, Belmonte said that business establishments are required to report their production capacities and commensurate workforce requirements.
She added that these firms should check the health conditions of their workers prior to their return to work, facilitate the testing of workers, quarantine workers as needed, implement thermal scanning and social distancing in the workplace, and institute disinfection schedules.
“Penalties will be imposed on those who will fail to report,” Assistant City Administrator for Operations Alberto Kimpo said.
Big business establishments are encouraged to have their staff tested for COVID-19 and to prepare quarantine facilities for them.
“Businesses must also implement mandatory temperature check at all entry points while dividers must be installed between work stations to prevent physical contact,” he added.
Kimpo said no 24-hour operation will be allowed to give way to regular disinfection, except for medical-related establishments.
He explained that the guidelines also mandate a one-day closure for businesses for disinfection and sanitation, including an option to re-implement ECQ in barangays or their portions that continue to have high COVID infection rates, subject to the approval of the IATF-NCR.
Continued distribution of aid
The city government assured residents of the continued distribution of various financial aid, such as the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), the local government’s SAP, and the Kalingang QC.
“Checkpoints will be retained and may be made stricter in priority areas, community testing will continue, and contact tracing will be beefed up to help control the virus,’’ the QC statement read.
“These are among the initial recommendations we have gathered from the different concerned departments, most crucial of all from the Quezon City Health Department and its Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit,” Kimpo said.