Gov't tightens strategy in fighting COVID-19 pandemic

With the new community quarantine in place across the country, the government has decided to "refresh" its strategies to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease and prevent deaths. 

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF) has issued Resolution No. 63-A approving efforts to enhance the government's "prevent-detect-isolate-treat-recovery" strategy, according to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr.

"Inaprubahan ng IATF ang isang strategic road map, ang strategy rehash or strategy refresh, magpalakas sa prevent, detect, isolate, treat and recovery strategy – ang layunin nito ay pababain ang bilang ng COVID-19 at non-COVID-19 deaths (The IATF approved the strategic roadmap, a strategy rehash or strategy refresh to strengthen the prevent-detect-isolate-treat-recovery strategy. The goal is to reduce the number of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 deaths)," Roque said during a televised briefing Tuesday.

"Magagawa po natin ito sa pamamagitan ng: Isa, pagbaba ng transmission rate; pangalawa, palakasin ang health system capacity  (We can do this through reducing transmission rate, ramping up health system capacity)," he said.

The latest decision came after President Duterte moved to relax the lockdown levels in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal until the end of the month. These places will be placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) from August 19 to 31 after two-week modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) sought by the medical community.

Other GCQ areas are Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Quezon, Iloilo City, Cebu City, Lapu Lapu City, Mandaue City, Talisay City, Municipalities of Minglanilla and Consolacion in Cebu province.  

GCQ allows the resumption of public transportation, limited gatherings for religious purposes, critical government services, humanitarian activities, and memorial park visits, among others. The movement of the people is still limited to going to work and accessing essential goods and services.

The modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the least restrictive in the four-tier lockdown level, remains in effect in the rest of the country.

Roque said the IATF has directed local government units to strictly implement localized community quarantine in areas with community transmission as well as minimum health standards in their areas.

The containment measures also include active surveillance and case finding, immediate facility-based quarantine/isolation of patients and close contacts. Local government units must also ensure adequate isolation and quarantine facilities and enhance health care system capacity.

In the same resolution, Roque said the task force approved the  proposal of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to expand the tracing, extracting and isolation strategies for COVID-19 asymptomatic and mild cases, including suspect cases.

The Department of Agriculture's recommendation on the temporary ban of importing poultry products from Brazil has also been approved by the IATF, Roque added.