DOH eyes putting PH under more relaxed restrictions by 1st quarter of 2021

By: Leila B. Salaverria - Inquirer.net | November 01,2020 - 09:38 AM

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) said all local governments in the country might be placed under the least restrictive quarantine classification by the first quarter of 2021 if they would be able to improve their efforts to prevent, detect and treat COVID-19 patients.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases had set safeguard conditions to determine if a local government unit was ready to be placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

They must meet the indicators for gatekeeping, Vergeire said.

“In the targets and milestones we have laid down, we’re looking at possibly by the first quarter of 2021. Hopefully, all local governments will be able to shift to MGCQ already because they have achieved their gatekeeping indicator,” she added.

These include being able to sufficiently surveil and trace the contacts of a COVID-19 patient, she said.

Local governments must also be able to implement basic requirements to prevent, detect, isolate and treat COVID-19 patients, she said.

“Once local governments have achieved this target, then we can very well say they can shift to MGCQ,” she said at an online briefing.

Metro Manila, Batangas, Iloilo City, Bacolod City, Iligan City and Lanao del Sur are under general community quarantine until the end of November.

The rest of the country is under MGCQ.

The Philippines has been under some form of lockdown since March to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The restrictions were eased in the succeeding months to help revive the economy, although the government continues to stress the need to strictly adhere to health measures to prevent a spike in COVID-19 cases.

1,803 new cases

On Saturday, the DOH logged an additional 1,803 cases, pushing the national tally to 380,729.

Rizal province reported the most number of new infections at 97, followed by Davao City (93), Quezon City (86), Cavite (66) and Pasig (65).

The total number of COVID-19 survivors increased to 331,046 with the recovery of 606 more patients. The death toll rose to 7,221 as 36 more patients succumbed to the severe respiratory disease.

The recoveries and deaths left the country with 42,462 active cases, of which 83.2 percent are mild, 11.3 percent asymptomatic, 1.9 percent severe and 3.5 percent critical. —With a report from Jovic Yee

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