Common areas in workplaces 'vulnerable' areas for virus transmission â Galvez
An international airline ground staff wearing protective gear works at the counter at the airport in Manila on August 4, 2020.
AFP/Ted Aljibe
Common areas in workplaces 'vulnerable' areas for virus transmission — Galvez
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - August 6, 2020 - 12:22pm

MANILA, Philippines — Common areas in workplaces such as canteens and smoking areas are critical areas for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) transmission, the chief implementer of the government’s pandemic response said Thursday.

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said authorities found violations of minimum health standards in workplaces in economic hubs Metro Manila and nearby areas of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.

He identified canteens and smoking areas as “source of contamination.”

“Tinignan nating reasons why we have this kind of spikes and we saw very vulnerable talaga ‘yung mass transport, shuttle buses and ‘yung mga common areas na ginagawang parang kainan ng ating mga workers,” Galvez during the launch of the One Hospital Command in Makati City.

(We’re looking at the reasons why we have this kind of spikes and we saw that mass transport, shuttle buses and common areas where workers eat are very vulnerable.)

“Nakita natin na mukhang kulang pa ang orientation ng mga workers pertaining ‘yung public safety and minimum health standard,” he added.

(It seems that workers lacked orientations on public safety and minimum health standard.)

The number of cases has grown exponentially since the government eased movement restrictions in June to revitalize the country’s battered economy. But the surge in infections also resulted in the health system getting overwhelmed.

To give swamped and exhausted medical workers a breather, President Rodrigo Duterte decided to place Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna under modified enhanced community quarantine until August 18.

Aside from workplaces, Galvez said densely-populated areas are also vulnerable to COVID-19 transmission, where physical distancing is almost impossible.

The chief implementer of the government’s pandemic response said the two-week lockdown will not be enough to arrest the spread of cases but it will be used to strengthen testing and tracing efforts in communities.

As of Wednesday, the Philippines has 115,980 cases. Of the figure, 47,587 are active cases.

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