Quarantine fatigue, possible cause of complacency in following minimum health standards — expert

Maris Federez   •   September 1, 2021   •   333

MANILA, Philippines — A health expert believes that the drop in the number of Filipinos observing minimum health protocols, compared to previous months, is due to quarantine fatigue.

In a virtual briefing on Wednesday (Sept.1), Dr. Karl Henson of the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID) said that aside from the highly transmissible Delta variant, quarantine fatigue is a very likely cause that led to the current surge of coronavirus disease.

“That is very possible po we have been dealing with the pandemic since the beginning of 2020. Pinapa-stay natin ang mga tao sa bahay as much as we can. Yung mga bata nasa bahay lang, yung matatanda rin,” Henson said.

“Hindi po mahirap isipin na pagod na pagod na ang tao sa mga public health measures na ito,” he added.

Henson pointed out, however, that this is not the time to be complacent.

“Kaya, ngayon po na merong surge, I think, now is not the time po na mapapagod tayo. I think kailangan po natin ma-remind ulit ang mga tao na importanteng importante po ang pagsunod sa pagsuot ng proper na PPE (personal protective equipment),” he said.

“Delta variant is very transmissible, mas madali po siyang maipasa kaya kailangan natin mag ingat,” he further noted.

Henson said that the amount of the Delta variant of the virus in the nose of an unvaccinated person is 1,000 times higher than its older versions.

“So kapag hindi properly suot ang face mask at face shield, mas madali talaga pong ipasa ang virus. Now, kung samahan pa po yun ng hindi proper yung physical distancing, hindi madalas maghugas ng kamay, so pwede po talagang kumalat nang mabilis ang virus,” he warned.

He said community transmission starts in the family where members become complacent as they mingle with each other sans facemasks and face shields.

Henson also underscored the importance of wearing face shields aside from having proper ventilation, wearing a mask, handwashing, and maintaining physical distancing in protecting one’s self against COVID-19, especially the Delta variant.

“Yung face shields po is actually an extra layer of protection. Habang wala pa po tayong masiyadong maraming datos, ang thought po ng government and experts is by wearing a face shield, meron kayong extra protection,” he said.

Henson said that studies in other countries show that face shields in addition to face masks is effective in preventing transmission of COVID.

“But it should not be face shield on its own. Kailangan po may facemask. Kasi mas importante po na matakapan ang ilong at ang bibig para po hindi malanghap yung COVID. Yung face shield is extra layer of protection lang po,” he said.

While Henson warned the public against complacency amid the pandemic, he also called on the Department of Health and other experts to review other evidence that comes out in responding to the dreaded respiratory virus.

“Sa DOH at sa mga eksperto, kailangan po sigurong ma-review ulit yung evidence baka po kasi may mga bago nang  datos that might help improve our recommendations para po mas madaling sumunod ang mga tao dito sa mga minimum public health standards na sinasabi natin,” he said.

Mga ‘di susunod sa health protocols, pwedeng hindi papasukin sa mga establisimyento – Malakanyang

Robie de Guzman   •   November 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – May karapatan ang mga publiko at pribadong establisimyento na pagbawalang pumasok ang mga taong hindi susunod sa health protocols gaya ng tamang pagsusuot ng face mask.

Ayon kay acting Presidential spokesperson at Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, binigyan na ng pahintulot ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) ang mga establisimiyento na huwag papasukin ang sinumang susuway sa patakaran laban sa hawaan ng COVID-19.

“Mayroon pong authority ang mga establishments na doon sa mga di nagsusuot ng face mask o ‘di kayang magsuot ng face mask kabilang na po dito ang mga menor de edad, ay mayroon na po silang authority na di po papasukin sa kanila pong establismyento,” ani Nograles.

Panawagan namang opisyal sa mga lokal na pamahalaan na tiyaking naipatutupad ang minimum health standards sa kani-kanilang mga nasasakupan upang maiwasan ang muling pagtaas ng kaso ng coronavirus infections.

Muli ring umapela ang Palasyo sa mga magulang na huwag dadalhin ang kanilang maliliit na mga anak sa malls at iba pang lugar na close, crowded at maaaring mag-promote ng close-contact activities. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Airline companies rehiring laid-off crew as flights increase

Robie de Guzman   •   November 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines ­– Some airline companies have started the gradual rehiring of their flight and ground crew that were laid-off due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the number of flights continues to increase.

AirAsia said they will slowly reactivate over 400 former employees as domestic flights to some tourist destinations resume.

These workers include cabin crews, pilot ground staff and engineering personnel.

“Ngayon, we’re activating starting December. Mag-a-undergo na ng training yung at least 15 percent and then effective January 1, 2022, laha nitong mga All-Stars natin na nag-hibernate ay gradual na ring ire-reintegrate sa ating linya,” AirAsia spokesperson Steve Dailisan said.

AirAsia said it will also double the flights to several local destinations such as in Caticlan, which is the gateway to the world-renowned Boracay Island.

Airliner Cebu Pacific also announced it will be rehiring staff who were furloughed during the pandemic to prepare for the anticipated increase in domestic and international flights.

“Right now, we’re very prepared definitely. Our staff are fully-trained and are actually fully-vaccinated also—yung active flying crew natin. So, additional safety yan for our passengers,” said Michelle Lim, Cebu Pacific Corporate Communications Manager.

Cebu Pacific said it will also increase flights to six local destinations including Boracay Island via the Caticlan Airport, Bohol, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, and General Santos City.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) also announced it will operate more domestic and international flights amid increasing flight frequencies and booking.

PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said they are also planning to reactivate furloughed workers, but clarified they are yet to rehire laid-off workers as operations remain limited.

“By December, it will be one 1,350 in terms of cabin crew count that will be assigned to serve our flights because the number of cabin crews this year and at present and previous year was very much less because of the number of flights,” she.

Airline companies reminded passengers to be at the airport at least three hours before their scheduled flight and ensure they bring with them all travel documents required for their trip. (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

PH to allow entry of select vaccinated foreign travelers starting Dec. 1 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   November 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is set to reopen its doors to select travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Malacañang announced Friday.

In a Palace briefing, acting Presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said that starting December 1 to 15, fully vaccinated nationals of non-visa required countries will be allowed entry to the Philippines.

The new policy was approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) under Resolution No. 150-A.

The list of countries whose nationals are allowed to enter the Philippines without visa for a period of stay of 30 days may be view here.

Nograles, however, noted that these travelers should satisfy the following conditions:

  • Their passport should be valid for at least 6 months at the time of arrival
  • They should have a return or outbound ticket to their country of origin or next destination
  • Prior to arrival in Philippines, they should have stayed exclusively for 14 days in a Green List area with low COVID-19 cases
  • They must have proof of vaccination against COVID-19

Fully vaccinated foreign nationals bound for the Philippines shall present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.

Upon arrival in the Philippines, they will not go to a facility-based quarantine and no on-arrival RT-PCR test will be required.

However, passengers will be asked to self-monitor for any symptom until the 14th day with the first day being the date of arrival, Nograles said.

Travelers merely transiting through Green List areas shall not be deemed as having come from these territories if they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry.

The testing and quarantine protocols of minors shall follow the testing and quarantine protocol of the parent/guardian traveling with them.

For those vaccinated but failed to comply with the test-before-travel requirements, Nograles said they shall be governed by the protocols for unvaccinated individuals coming from Green List areas.

They will also be required to undergo facility-based quarantine until the release of their negative RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day; and self-monitor until the 14th day with the date of arrival being the first day.


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