August 06, 2021

LOCKDOWN SERIES: 6 Important Things to Know About ECQ

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  • LOCKDOWN SERIES: 6 Important Things to Know About ECQ
  • The National Capital Region (NCR) is placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) effective August 6 to 20, 2021.

    The recommendation was actually made by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) after a deadly strain of coronavirus called the Delta variant entered the country last month.

    Manila and COVID-19 Graffiti /IMAGE from Unsplash

    “The Department of Health (DOH), the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) biosurveillance have detected B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), and P.1 (Gamma) variants of SARS-CoV-2 in the Philippines,” they said. “The DOH, UP-PGH, and UP-NIH have likewise confirmed the presence of the B.1.617 (Delta) variant that was first detected in India.”

    With 97 Delta variant cases confirmed in the country, President Rodrigo Duterte immediately supported the advice of IATF-EID to put back NCR into lockdown in order to prevent further damages.

    According to a study, the new variant is easier and faster to transmit among children and the elderly. Currently, it’s under observation, and no official and detailed research has been published yet.

    Likewise, no brand of vaccines can guarantee a huge percentage of immunity against the new strain.

    “The continued implementation of proactive measures and restrictions must be put in place to slow down the surge in COVID-19 cases, stop further spread of variants, buy time for the health system to cope, and to protect more lives,” they added.

    As we navigate toward another lockdown, we listed down 6 key points to remember during ECQ.

    VACCINATION

    IMAGE from Makati City Official Facebook page 

    In accordance to Resolution 130-A released by IATF-EID this week, vaccination drives are still ongoing. The Vax program remains a priority to ensure the safety of the public from the virus. They also urged Local Government Units (LGUs) to keep it organize and to follow the health protocols at all times.

    “Ramp-up vaccination among Priority Groups A2 and A3 populations to reduce the occurrence of more severe disease and fatalities. Parallel efforts to vaccinate A4 population, if resources are adequate,” they said.

    You can check on your respective city government for the latest update on vaccination schedules.

    CURFEW HOURS EXTENDED

    Meanwhile, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos announced the unanimous decision of Metro Manila mayors adopting the extended curfew hours.

    The extended curfew hours in Metro Manila will be implemented during the same period of ECQ from August 6 to 20. The curfew hours will be 8:00 p.m. to 4: 00 a.m.

    ALLOWED TO OPERATE  

    In the latest Comprehensive Omnibus Guidelines, here are only the establishments, persons, or activities that are allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken for the duration under the duration of ECQ: 

    With full on-site capacity: 

    • Public and private hospitals.
    • Health, emergency, and frontline services, including those provided by dialysis centers, chemotherapy centers, HMOs, health insurance providers, disaster risk reduction management officers, and public safety officers, and the like.
    • Manufacturers of medicines and vitamins, medical supplies, devices, and equipment.
    • Industries involved in agriculture.
    • Essential and priority construction projects, whether public or private, in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
    • Manufacturing related to food and other essential goods.
    • Companies that manufacture, distribute, and/or supply equipment or products necessary to perform construction.
    • Essential retail trade and service establishments such as public markets, supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies or drug stores, hardware, office supplies, bicycle shops, laundry shops, and water-refilling stations.
    • Food preparation establishments such as kiosks, commissaries, restaurants, and eateries, but limited to take-out and delivery.
    • Public and private financial service providers.
    • Business process outsourcing establishments (BPOs), and export-oriented businesses, including mining and quarrying activities.
    • Public transport providers and operators.

    With maximum 50% on-site capacity:

    • Media establishments and their total permanent staff complement, inclusive of reporters and other field employees.

    With an on-site skeleton workforce:

    • Dental, rehabilitation, optometry, and other medical clinics for the treatment of illness or injuries, provided that there is strict observance of health and safety protocols.
    • Veterinary clinics
    • Banks and money transfer service
    • Capital markets
    • Water supply and janitorial/sanitation services and facilities
    • The energy sector (oil, gas, and power companies)
    • Telecommunications companies, internet service providers, cable television providers
    • Airline and aircraft maintenance, pilots and crew, and employees of aviation schools
    • Funeral and embalming services
    • Security personnel licensed by the PNP
    • Printing establishments authorized by the government
    • Establishments engaged in repair and maintenance of machinery and equipment
    • Establishments engaged in repair and maintenance of motorized and non-motorized vehicles
    • Leasing of real and personal properties
    • Employment activities that involve the recruitment and placement for permitted sectors
    • Teachers, professors, and other staff for purposes of conducting online/offline, and flexible classes
    • Lawyers only when required to provide on-site legal representation
    • All other establishments, to the extent necessary for the buying and selling of consumer goods or services via the internet.

    IAFT also highlighted that gatherings outside of residences shall be prohibited. However, religious activities such as necrological services are only allowed to immediate family members.

    “Pastors, priests, rabbis, imams, or other religious ministers and their assistants may conduct religious services performed through online video recording and transmission, necrological services, wakes, inurnment, and funerals, and they shall be allowed to move for such purposes,” they said.

    ALLOWED TO GO OUT

    It’s a general rule of thumb that persons below 18 years old, those who are over  65 years of age, those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity, or other health risks, and pregnant women shall be required to remain in their residences at all times, except for obtaining essential goods and services, or for work in industries.

    They also added that Authorized Persons Outside their Residences (APORs) are the only ones allowed to go in and out of NCR Plus.

    TRANSPORTATION 

    In terms of the guidelines entering places under ECQ, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) shared an infographic with detailed information about private and public transportation.

    IMAGE from DOTr

    The IAFT also noted that the strict enforcement of border control protocols will be observed at all ports of Metro Manila’s entry point.

    TRAVEL AND TOURISM

    Under travel and tourism, the Department of Tourism (DOT) and IAFT released a statement last week to inform the public that flight under leisure purposes is halted.

    Cambugahay Falls in Siquijor/IMAGE from the Department of Tourism

    “Only hotels or accommodation establishments with valid DOT Accreditation shall be allowed to accommodate guests and clients for legitimate purposes under a state of a public health emergency,” IAFT said. 

    The DOT also clarified that point-to-point (P2P) flights for leisure are suspended, effective immediately. Though returning flights are allowed for NCR Plus.

    “Indoor tourist attractions may not operate, and staycations shall not be allowed. DOT-accredited accommodation establishments (AEs) outside of NCR Plus may no longer accept leisure guests from NCR Plus beginning today, regardless of the date of booking,” DOT added.


    Sources: Department of Tourism, Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), Department of Transportation, Philippine Information Agency, Official Gazette

    Written by Cedie Salido 

               
               
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