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PH gov’t bares new community quarantine guidelines

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Amid the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Malacañang on May 13, 2020, released fresh guidelines for the implementation of quarantine protocols nationwide.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said “minimum standards” should be observed in places where enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), modified ECQ, and general community quarantine (GCQ) would be implemented beginning May 16.

Roque reminded Filipinos that they must use face masks, practice frequent sanitation and hand washing, and avoid touching their face and other surfaces to protect themselves against Covid-19.

He added that the practice of strict social distancing of at least one meter, reconfiguration of workspaces, and the putting of markers in public places must be done across the country.

“Nag-simula tayo sa ECQ. Gagawin nating modified ECQ papunta sa GCQ at susunod po ang modified GCQ bago po tayo magkaroon ng new normal (We began with the implementation of ECQ. We will now implement modified ECQ. Afterwards, GCQ and modified GCQ before we have the new normal),” Roque said in a virtual presser-aired on state-run PTV-4.

He issued the statement as modified ECQ is set to be imposed in Metro Manila, Laguna, and Cebu City from May 16 to 31.

Cagayan Valley; Central Luzon; Calabarzon, except Laguna; the Cordillera region; Central Visayas, except Cebu City; Zamboanga Peninsula; Davao region; and Caraga will be placed under GCQ.

Initially, the Ilocos region, Mimaropa, Bicol, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Soccsksargen, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region will no longer be under ECQ or GCQ beginning May 16 since these are areas with low risks of infection.

Roque, however, announced during the press briefing that low-risk areas would be placed under modified GCQ.

“Wala na pong lugar sa Pilipinas na hindi nasa ilalim ng community quarantine. Yung nauna pong areas na sinabi natin na wala na pong community quarantine, balik po sila under modified GCQ (There will be no places in the Philippines that would not be placed under community quarantine. The areas we said that would no longer be under community quarantine will now be under modified GCQ),” he said.

Public movement

Roque said people residing in places where ECQ and modified ECQ will be enforced must “100 percent” stay at home.

Vulnerable individuals, such as senior citizens, and transmitters, such as youths, are not allowed to go outside of their homes while GCQ is being implemented, he said.

Roque noted that outdoor exercise is not allowed during the ECQ period while people from areas placed under modified ECQ can walk, jog, run, and bike so long as they observe safety protocols, such as wearing of face mask and practicing social distancing of at least two meters.

He said limited sports, such as golf and tennis, are allowed in places under GCQ.

Roque said mass gatherings are still prohibited in areas under ECQ.

However, he said, a gathering of a maximum of five people is allowed in areas where modified ECQ will be implemented.

Roque said a maximum of 10 people could hold a meeting in areas placed under GCQ.

Transportation

Roque said the temporary stoppage of mass public transport is still in effect in areas where ECQ is imposed.

The government, however, would allow the use of shuttles for front-line workers and private vehicles for persons allowed to leave homes in areas under ECQ, he said.

“Sa ECQ, wala pong public transportation (There is no public transportation in areas under ECQ),” Roque said.

For areas under modified ECQ, the government would permit the use of government company shuttle, personal vehicle, bicycle, motorcycle, electric scooter, and public shuttle, he said.

Meanwhile, all public and private transportation are allowed in areas under GCQ, but strict safe distancing and safety protocols must be followed.

Roque also said domestic flights are prohibited and international flights are limited in areas under ECQ and modified ECQ.

Work in public, private sectors

He further said there should be stricter protocols for higher risk occupations, industries, and spaces.

Roque said workers in the private sector must undergo Covid-19 tests and must be provided shuttle services.

Skeleton workforce in government would be allowed during the imposition of ECQ and modified ECQ, he said.

Alternative work arrangements for government employees, Roque said, would be practiced in areas under GCQ.

Sa GCQ, well, magkakaroon po tayo ng alternative work arrangements. Kinakailangan siguro masunod ‘yung 40 hours of work pero may possibility na magkakaroon po tayo ng four-day workweek (There will be alternative work arrangements in areas under GCQ. Employees may render 40 hours of work or avail of the four-day workweek),” he said.

Roque said school premises are still closed in areas under ECQ and GCQ.

Skeleton workforce may be adopted in areas under GCQ to process students’ requirements and make preparations for graduation activities and class opening, he said. (Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos, PNA)

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