Duterte: Living with COVID-19 with minimal disruptions possible

Published July 28, 2021, 6:27 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government is prepared to recalibrate the country’s health protocols as more people get vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to President Duterte.

President Duterte (File photo:Malacañang)

The President assured that the nation could live with the virus with “minimal disruptions” as he tackled the government’s vaccination targets and post-vaccination protocols in his 2016-2021 final report to the people.

“We have put in place the protocols for fully vaccinated individuals. Under these protocols, there will be less movement restrictions for them, provided that they can present their vaccination card,” the President said.

He noted that easing the movement curbs for vaccinated individuals was “a big leap for those who want to travel but find undergoing RT-PCR tests too costly.”

“We shall continue to recalibrate our health protocols as we draw near our targets in our national vaccination program based on supply of vaccines,” he said.

“Living with the virus with minimal disruptions is possible. As such, we shall implement measures that will facilitate the full reopening of the economy without the fear of risking everyone’s health and safety,” he added.

In anticipation of the gradual reopening of the local borders, the President said the government, alongside local government units and other stakeholders, started to harmonize measures to ensure the safety of travelers, workers, and communities under the new normal.

“However, these efforts still need to be enhanced to ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page,” he said.

Of the 31 million doses in the country’s vaccine arsenal, the government has so far administered more than 18 million jabs to the people, including health workers, seniors, those with comorbidity, and essential health workers. Around 6.8 million have already been full vaccinated.

The government aims to reach herd immunity by end of 2021 or early 2022 by vaccinating 50 to 70 million people across the country.

Early July, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) released the protocols for full vaccinated individuals, including shorter quarantine period.

Full vaccinated asymptomatic persons exposed to a probable or confirmed COVID-19 case may undergo a seven-day quarantine period instead of 14 days. Those traced beyond the seven days of last exposure are no longer required testing and quarantine.

Under the IATF rules, senior citizens with full vaccination are also allowed unrestricted movement in areas under general community quarantine and modified general quarantine areas provided they present their vaccination cards or certificate. Fully vaccinated travelers must also show their vaccine cards as alternative to local government units’ testing requirement.