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Transition period needed after lifting ECQ, QC gov't says

The Quezon City government propose to prepare business establishments and residents before ending the period of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) that was implemented to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The local government acknowledges that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) will decide to downgrade the protocol imposed on the city from ECQ to General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

A transition period, the LGU says, will allow business establishments to adapt to localized guidelines currently being developed in anticipation of a “new normal” setting.

In a statement, Mayor Joy Belmonte said the guidelines intend to jumpstart the revival of the local economy while ensuring the safety of the residents through the implementation of strict health protocols in business establishments.

“Necessary preventive measures should be in place and the health and safety of workers and customers must be guaranteed before we allow them to operate again,” she said.

The proposal will be discussed at the meeting of Metro Manila mayors set on Saturday May 9, 2020.

As of May 08, the Quezon City has recorded 1,156 positive COVID cases as confirmed by the Quezon City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (QC-ESU), 337 recoveries, and 134 deaths in a total population closer to approximately four million, that includes transients and those stranded as a result of the ECQ.

The city has three local government hospitals and hosts more than thirty private and national government hospitals and healthcare facilities that may contribute to the City Government’s COVID related response.

“While the health of our residents remains our primary priority, we also need to look after the local economy, which has been affected severely by the dreaded virus,” Belmonte said.

The guidelines for the transition period include requiring business establishments to report production capacities and commensurate workforce requirements, check the health conditions of their workforce prior to allowing return to work, facilitate testing of workers, quarantine workers as needed, implement thermal scanning and social distancing in the workplace, and institute disinfection schedules.

Assistant City Administrator for Operations Alberto Kimpo said penalties will be imposed to those who will fail submit their reports.

“Businesses must also implement mandatory temperature check at all entry points while dividers must be installed between work stations to prevent physical contact,” he added.

Kimpo added that no 24-hour operation will be allowed to give way to regular disinfection except establishments that provide health services.

Business establishments will also be required a one-day closure for disinfection.

Barangays also have the option to re-implement ECQ that are found to have high COVID-19 infection rates. This option will be subject to the approval of the IATF-NCR.

The city government assured the continued distribution of various financial aid, such as the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), the local government’s SAP, and the Kalingang QC. 

“Checkpoints will be retained and may be made stricter in priority areas, community testing will continue and contact tracing will be beefed up to help control the virus. These are among the initial recommendations we have gathered from the different concerned departments, most crucial of all from the Quezon City Health Department and its Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit,” Kimpo said. -- BAP, GMA News