IATF open to shorter curfew
According to presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr., the Cabinet has endorsed to the local government units the shortened curfew while the government further reopens the economy.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman, file
IATF open to shorter curfew
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - October 15, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases is considering reduced curfew hours in Metro Manila and other areas to allow more people to adjust to the new normal amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr., the Cabinet has endorsed to the local government units (LGUs) the shortened curfew while the government further reopens the economy.

It will be up to the LGUs now to adopt ordinances that would prescribe the curfew hours, at present imposed by many cities in Metro Manila from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

San Juan on Monday announced that curfew hours in the city would be from midnight to 5 a.m.

Roque yesterday said the government would appreciate it if the LGUs implement a uniform curfew to avoid confusion, especially for frontline workers who would have to cross borders to go to work or return to their homes.

“Right now most have imposed curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. while others have earlier curfews. So, the decision of the Cabinet is to recommend to LGUs (to impose) a shorter curfew,” he said.

“This was recommended to the LGUs because they are the ones who will enforce the curfews through their ordinances,” he said.

In his daily television program aired over state-run PTV-4, chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said the adjustment on curfew hours would allow firms to expand the working shifts to enable workers to get to their work places even during the wee hours.

Panelo said the general population should adapt to a lifestyle that includes the wearing of face masks and face shields, and physical distancing.

“We need to be able to live with this virus, we cannot be forever curtailed or hostaged by this virus,” Panelo said.

Apart from the curfew, the government has allowed the increase to 50 percent the capacity of public transportation, including trains and passenger buses with the enforcement of the one-seat-apart rule.

Motorcycle taxis and TVNS are also allowed back on the road to service commuters.

Health system capacity

In deciding on community quarantine, the Department of Healtlh (DOH) is now looking at the capacity of the health system to cope with COVID-19 cases.

According to DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the “major determinant” now for the level of community quarantine that should be imposed in a certain place is its health system capacity.

“We are not looking only at the numbers. It’s also being done by the Inter-Agency Task Force during the revision of the classification of community quarantine levels. The major determinant now is the health system capacity,” she said at a press briefing.

Vergeire said this means that when DOH looks into the number of COVID-19 cases in an area, they also determine if the health system there can cope with these cases.

Aside from this, they also check if there are adequate temporary treatment and monitoring facility in such place and if the contact tracing is efficient and if appropriate testing is being done.

“What is important is that the health system will not be overwhelmed even if the number of cases continues to increase,” she added. – Sheila Crisostomo

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