MM quarantine status up for review

Published June 21, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Genalyn Kabiling and Chito Chavez 

As cases of the coronavirus continued to increase, the government is set to conduct this week a “preliminary review” on the health data to help determine the country’s quarantine status beyond June 30.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

According to presidential spokesman Harry Roque, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) will look into the scientific data to ascertain if the government will retain, further relax, or tighten the quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila and other places in the country.

The case doubling rate and critical health care capacity of a local government unit are taken into consideration by the task force in determining the quarantine classification of an area.

“Well, sa darating na linggo magkakaroon na po ng preliminary review of data kasi mayroon na pong isang linggong nakalipas by then at malalaman po natin kung mananatili ang GCQ (General Community Quarantine), kung magpi-further relax to MGCQ (modified general community quarantine) o kung babalik sa Modified ECQ (There will be a preliminary review of the data this week because a week has already passed. By then, we will know if the GCQ will stay, if we will further relax to MGCQ or if we will return to modified ECQ),” he said over state television last Saturday.

“Lahat po ‘yan ay nakabase sa datos, nakabase sa siyensya. Tayo pong taumbayan ang magdedesisyon kung anong mangyayari sa ating mga lugar (Everything is based on data, based on science. We the nation will decide what will happen to our areas),” he said.

With the country still under community quarantine at varying levels, Roque urged the public anew to observe health precautions, including staying indoors except for essential activities, to help contain the spread of the viral illness. He said the public should wear face masks and practice safe distancing to avoid infection.

He appealed to citizens to become “home-liners” if there is no need to leave their homes, wear face masks, stay health, wash hands, use disinfectants, and observe social distancing.

Local government officials should also not hesitate to enforce a lockdown if the cases of infections rise in a barangay, zone, building, street or subdivision, according to Roque.

The Palace had earlier said that the National Capital Region was nearly placed under the more stringent quarantine classification after it almost did not hit the ideal case doubling rate of seven days. The case of quarantine in Metro Manila has doubled every 6.9 days, making it an area with moderate risk infection.

Roque also said Metro Manila has sufficient health care capacity for critically ill patients that help to keep its GCQ status.

In Resolution No. 46-A issued last week, the IATF has directed local government units to enforce minimum public health standards especially in high-risk areas such as healthcare facilities, wet markets, supermarkets, government offices and workplaces.

The task force has also allowed localized community quarantine in priority or critical areas with community transmission with concurrence with the regional task force. There must also be immediate facility-based isolation of all returning citizens, suspect and probable cases.

Local government units have also been directed to scale up local health system capacity especially for community isolation and critical area such as mechanical ventilators, intensive care unit, and ward beds for coronavirus cases.

The regional COVID special teams have been directed to oversee and assist surveillance monitoring and contact tracing of suspect and probable cases. They must also develop a grounds-operations plan to execute control and public health measures in the next two weeks.

No COVID-19 surge if public will cooperate

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año yesterday said that the country will be COVID-19 free only when the government decides to impose the “new normal’’ protocols.

He issued the statement to dispel reports that localities under the less restricted general community quarantine (GCQ) are free of the virus.

Año said there will be no COVID19 surge if the public will only adhere to quarantine protocols.

“Ang bawat mamamayan dapat ang pinaka-unang frontliner. Kung aalagaan mo sarili mo, sumunod ka sa patakaran, di yan dadami, di magsa-spike yan (Each citizen should be the first frontliner. If you will take good care of yourself, follow the guidelines (quarantine rules), it (COVID-19) will not surge. There will be no spike),’’ Año said.

Año said lost jobs and livelihood opportunities will return if people will strictly follow quarantine protocols.

He admitted making the mistake of removing his face mask during one of his meetings where one of those present was later found to be COVID-19 positive.