DOH hopeful on PH-wide MGCQ by mid-2021

Published December 4, 2020, 3:44 PM

by Analou De Vera 

The Department of Health (DOH) expressed hopes that all local government units (LGU) in the country will be under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ)—the least restrictive quarantine level—by the second quarter of 2021.

Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire
Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“The milestone na tinitingnan po ng gobyerno would be by next year is —by the second quarter—-ang hope ng Philippine government—-ay lahat ng LGU ay MGCQ na tayo [The milestone that the government is looking at would be by next year is — by the second quarter —- the Philippine government is hopeful —- that all LGUs are now under MGCQ],” said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire in an online forum Friday, December 4.

In order to attain this, the LGUs need to achieve the “gatekeeping indicators” such as compliance to surveillance, contact tracing, isolation, testing, and treatment of COVID-19 patients, said Vergeire.

“[If] we see that they are capable because they have complied with their gatekeeping indicators and also our health system capacity is that at low risk —then maybe by the second quarter of next year we can all shift to this MGCQ,” she said.

Last Thursday, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said that the country will likely remain under community quarantine until the end of next year. Chua projected that all community quarantines will be fully lifted by 2022.

Workshop, seminars in GCQ areas

The DOH Spokesperson reminded the public to still continue to comply with the health protocols following the decision of the government’s COVID-19 task force to allow the conduct of workshops, training, seminars, and other related events in GCQ areas.

“Kailangan lang po natin alalahanin: unang-una, alam natin nandyan pa rin yung virus kahit po pinapayagan na yung mga ganitong activities kailangan cautious and vigilant pa rin tayo [We just need to remember: first of all, we know the virus is still there even though (the government) allows such activities we need to be cautious and vigilant],” said Vergeire.

“Pag pumunta tayo sa ganyang events kailangan naka face mask, face shield, meron distansya sa ating mga katabi, and sana well-ventilated yung mga areas na pagdadausan [When we go to such events, we need to wear a face mask, face shield, physical distancing, and hopefully the venue will be well-ventilated],” she added.

Vergeire, however, said that they are still recommending the conduct of events online.

“Most importantly, kung kaya pa rin ng virtual, of course that would be more acceptable for us–at mas nirerekomenda natin dahil dito maiiwasan natin ang paghawa-hawa ng ating mga kababayan [Most importantly, if virtual is still possible, of course that would be more acceptable for us – and we recommend it because we can prevent virus transmission],” she said.