Gov’t eyeing COVID quarantine-free Philippines by Q3 next year — DOH

Friday, December 4th, 2020. Filed under: News Philippine News

MANILA, Dec 4 (Mabuhay) — The Philippine government is planning to lift COVID-19 quarantine protocols in the entire country by the third quarter of 2021, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Friday.

Vergeire made the remark in response to the comment of National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Karl Chua that the country is expected stay under quarantine protocols for the whole of next year.

Likewise, she pointed out that the key to faster transition to the new normal is strengthened local government units’  gatekeeping components such as surveillance, contact tracing, quarantine facilities, and COVID testing efforts so they can transition to a more relaxed modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) by the second quarter of 2021.

“Nothing is certain at this point, pinag-aaralan nating mabuti lahat ng posibleng mangyari. Ang milestone na tinitignan ng gobyerno, dapat by second quarter of next year, lahat ng LGUs (local government units), MGCQ na tayo,” Vergeire said.

“Kapag nabuo na natin iyong gatekeeping components saka iyong health system capacity is at low risk, maybe by second quarter next year we can shift to MGCQ and hopefully, as months progress after the second quarter, all of us can shift to new normal,” she added.

MGCQ — the most relaxed quarantine status under the COVID pandemic guidelines —  allows those in the 15 to 65 age bracket to go out of their homes, as well as 50% operation of movie screenings, concerts, sporting events and other entertainment activities, religious services, and work conferences.

But Vergeire warned the pubic that the availability of COVID-19 vaccine by 2021 does not mean we can let their guard down, and said, “We cannot be complacent. Dapat ipagpatuloy pa rin ang pagpapatupad ng minimum health standards.” 

The Philippines has recorded 435,413 COVID-19 cases so far. Of this number, 399,325 recovered while 8,446 died, and active cases stand at 27,642.  (MNS)

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