Metro Manila to be under Alert Level 4 by September 16

Maris Federez   •   September 14, 2021   •   373

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) announced Tuesday that the National Capital Region will be placed under Alert Level 4 beginning September 16, the start of the implementation of the new alert levels system amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

DILG  Secretary Eduardo Año said that Metro Manila mayors have agreed to implement the said alert level as a whole.

Based on the IATF issued guidelines, areas under Alert Level 4  are those with COVID-19 case counts that are high or increasing, and the total bed capacity and ICU beds are at a high utilization rate.

Those who are not allowed outside their residences under Alert Level 4 are:

  • persons below 18 years old,
  • those who are over 65 years of age,
  • those with immunodeficiencies, comorbidities, or other health risks; and
  • pregnant women

The said individuals, however, will be allowed to go out to access or obtain essential goods and services, or for work in permitted industries and offices.

Also, intrazonal and interzonal travel for persons not otherwise required to remain at their residences may be allowed subject to the reasonable regulations of the LGU of destination.

Individual outdoor exercises shall be allowed for all ages regardless of comorbidities or vaccination status but shall be limited within the general area of their residence, e.g. within the barangay, purok, subdivision, and/or village.

Outdoor or al fresco dine-in services in restaurants and eateries will operate at a maximum of 30%  venue/seating capacity regardless of vaccination status.

Indoor dine-in services may be allowed at a limited 10%  venue/seating capacity but will cater only to individuals fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in addition to their allowed outdoor or alfresco capacity. Their workers must also be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Personal care services limited to barbershops, hair spas, nail spas, and beauty salons will be allowed at a maximum of 30% venue/seating capacity if such services are conducted outdoors regardless of vaccination status.

These establishments are also allowed to operate at a limited 10% indoor venue/seating capacity but may only cater to individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in addition to their allowed outdoor capacities.

Government agencies will operate at least 20% capacity while applying work-from-home arrangements.

In-person religious gatherings shall be allowed at a maximum of 30% venue/seating capacity if conducted outdoors regardless of vaccination status.

These gatherings may be allowed at a limited 10% venue/seating capacity but may accommodate only individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in addition to their allowed outdoor capacities.

Provided, that pastors, priests, rabbis, imams, or other religious ministers and the assistants of these religious congregations have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 shall be allowed, provided that the same shall be limited to immediate family members, upon satisfactory proof of their relationship with the deceased and with full compliance with the prescribed minimum public health standards.

Brunei donates 2,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to PH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines— Around 2,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine donated by the Brunei government to the Philippines  arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Wednesday.

The said shipment will be allotted for the vaccination of the general public, according to National Task Force against COVID-19 special adviser Dr. Teodoro Herbosa,

Herbosa expressed his gratitude to the government of Brunei on behalf of the Philippines for the vaccine donation.

As of October 20, a total of 91,548,620 COVID-19 vaccine doses from various manufacturers have arrived in the Philippines. AAC

CHED rolls out vaccination of student-athletes in Metro Manila universities

Maris Federez   •   October 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The government has started the rollout of vaccination among student-athletes in Metro Manila universities.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said this is part of their preparation in case face-to-face classes, physical training, and sports activities in universities will finally be allowed amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

CHED said around 300 student-athletes at the college level have received their first dose of the anti-COVID-19 vaccine.

University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) president Emmanuel Calanog said they will be pushing for the restaging of the basketball league this coming February 2022.

They plan to start training and other activities in November to prepare their athletes for the league.

“That’s November, December, January. We have about three and a half months for them to train to get back to competition to be able to start in February. Yung volleyball naman ang target namin doon is after holy week. So, there is more time. More or less, that’s the schedule. And, of course, what the government will allow at that time,” Calanog said.

He added that basketball and volleyball players in their member schools are already 100 percent vaccinated, and all they are waiting for is the approval of the government for them to resume sports activities.

Member schools, Calanog added, have also conducted retrofitting and adjustment of sports facilities.

Meanwhile, CHED chairperson Prospero De Vera III said they are now preparing the guidelines to be implemented in sports activities in colleges and universities.

“Ngayong marami na ang bakuna, mababa-vaccniate na yung mga estudyante, mga athletes. The only thing we have to do is to tweak the guidelines given these circumstances now,” De Vera said.

“Noong kinrop (crop) yung policy konti pa lang ang bakuna. Ngayong madami na, iba na yung context ng guidelines. So, the guidelines have to be rewritten,” he added.

NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said 100 percent of student-athletes must be fully vaccinated before the government gives its approval for the resumption of training activities.

“I suggest talagang kailangang ma-vaccinate na natin ng first dose yung lahat ng mga athletes before the end of October para yung second dosing natin we can finish by November. You can start already yung mga practices ninyo,” Galvez said.

“I-encourage na talagang ngayon month maximize na natin talagang bakunahan na natin lahat ng mga athletes so that we can start early the training,” he added.

The NTF and the Department of Education (DepEd), on the other hand, have agreed to intensify the vaccination rollout among teaching and non-teaching personnel at elementary and secondary levels.

DepEd has prepared the list of teachers and school personnel to be submitted to the IATF for the inoculation drive.

“Nakipagpulong ang kagawaran sa NTF, yung vaccination task force ng gobyerno, para ma-accelerate yung vaccination ng ating teachers at ibang school personnel,” said DepEd Director Roger Masapol. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Janice Ingente)

PH to raise daily vaccination target to 1.5 million doses

Robie de Guzman   •   October 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is eyeing to raise its daily vaccination target to 1.5 million jabs amid the arrival of more COVID-19 vaccine doses.

In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte in a taped public briefing aired late Tuesday, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the continuous delivery of vaccine supplies in the country will allow the government to shift its focus to inoculating as much of the willing general population.

Galvez, who is also the National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer, said that for the first half of October alone, 20 million vaccine doses have already been delivered under government and private sector procurements, as well as donations.

The World Health Organization-led COVAX facility delivered 7.3 million doses for this month, which is one of its biggest vaccine donations to the Philippines to date, he added.

Galvez also reported that apart from the COVAX facility, the United States also donated 6.4 million Pfizer jabs while Germany gave 884, 800 AstraZeneca doses.

Both the US and Germany have committed to donate more in the coming months, he added.

At this rate, the vaccine czar said that achieving 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses delivery before end-October is “on track” and that vaccine supply shortage “is no longer an issue” with more than 38 million doses are safely stored in cold chain storage warehouses.

With the abundance of vaccine supply, Galvez said the government can now shift its attention to recalibrating its vaccine deployment strategy to inoculate the general population, including children, before the year ends.

The national government is aiming to vaccinate at least 50 million individuals this year.

As of Monday, a total of 24,498,753 have been fully vaccinated or 31.76 percent of the total vaccination target.

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