Metro Manila mayos have agreed to implement a lockdown on all the unvaccinated individuals in the metropolis as part of the measure to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) amid the rising number of cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) in the past days.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos said this was agreed in principle by all the 17 mayors of Metro Manila during the meeting help on Sunday and was embodied on the resolution approved by the Metro Manila Council.
The move is also aimed at protecting unvaccinated individuals, what with the report from the Department of Health that more or less 85 percent of severe cases of COVID it monitored in various hospitals are those who have not been inoculated against the deadly virus.
“This was what they agreed (during the meeting). Those unvaccinated, they shall remain at their residence at all times,” said Abalos in a press briefing on Monday morning, Jan. 3.
He said unvaccinated individuals would only be allowed to go out of their houses if they would buy essential goods like food, water or medicine or avail of essential services that are mostly relating to medical services, energy and work.
While unvaccinated individuals would not be deprived to do exercises, Abalos said their movement would be limited in areas near their homes like inside the subdivision, puroks or even within the barangay.
Abalos also emphasized that unvaccinated inviduals will not be allowed to travel and even do leisure activities like going to the malls, tourist spots and other popular leisure areas and would be even allowed to dine both inside and outside any restaurants and other dining establishments.
“This is like implementing ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine which is the highest lockdown measures) but only for the unvaccinated. This is also for their own protection,” said Abalos.
How about unvaxxed workers?
Abalos explained that work-related activities are exempted from the restrictions that were approved by the Metro Manila mayors for the unvaccinated individuals.
The catch, however, is that unvaccinated workers have to undergo RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction which is the most accurate test for COVID-19) every two weeks and that they have to present them to their work places as a matter of policy that was ordered by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).
Another problem for unvaccinated workers on this policy is that they are the ones who would shoulder the cost of the RT-PCR which costs ranges from P2,500 to P4,000 per test.
In the event that the RT-PCR result is not readily available as it takes time before the result is obtained, Abalos said unvaccinated workers must undergo antigen test, also at their expense.
Vax card as ‘passport’
During the briefing Abalos emphasized the importance of the vaccination card for those who want to move around Metro Manila and for those who want to enter the National Capital Region.
He said the vaccination cards served as the passports to all establishments–in compliance with the IATF order.
“So you need to carry vaccination cards at all times. And aside from vaccination card, the bearer should also have an identification to verify that he or she is indeed the person in the vaccination card,” said Abalos.
He, however, warned against availing fake vaccination cards, saying they would be punished by existing laws.
The same warning was given to establishment owners that would fail to implement the need to present vaccination cards for their clients and customers.
“We are expecting the malls and other establishments to adjust the protocols… So I appeal to the public to follow these rules as a way of cooperating with the government in the fight against COVID-19,” said Abalos.
COVID Alert Level 3 was hoisted over Metro Manila starting Monday, Jan. 3 to 15, amid the rising cases of infection in the past days. on Sunday alone, the DOH reported 4,600 cases of COVID-infection.
Various agencies have started to feel the upsurge, especially hospitals and medical facilities which recorded the sudden increase of infected individuals seeking medical help.