Quezon City to strictly enforce face mask-wearing in public as Metro Manila shifts to GCQ

Robie de Guzman   •   May 29, 2020   •   207

The Quezon City government will strictly enforce its order mandating residents to wear face masks in public places to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Mayor Joy Belmonte said as Metro Manila shifts to general community quarantine (GCQ) starting June 1.

“Dahil face mask ang isa sa pangunahing depensa laban sa COVID-19, paiigtingin natin ang kampanya upang masanay ang lahat na magsuot nito sa mga pampublikong lugar,” Belmonte said in a statement Thursday.

Belmonte issued Executive Order No. 25, Series of 2020 in April, requiring residents to wear any form of covering for the nose and mouth, including medical masks, industrial masks, earloop masks or even do-it-yourself masks, in all public places.

Citing a study by the United States’ Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the mayor emphasized the importance of wearing a face mask in public places to prevent the transmission of coronavirus disease.

“Sa pag-aaral na ito, makikitang malaki ang naitutulong ng pagsusuot ng face mask para mabawasan ang kaso ng COVID kaya dapat nating ugaliin ang paggamit nito tuwing nasa pampublikong lugar,” she said.

Belmonte has tasked the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), all barangay officials, the Department of Public Order and Safety, Task Force Disiplina, the Market Development and Administration Department, and other concerned offices of the local government to enforce the order.

Unlike before where authorities were lenient on violators by giving them face masks, residents without one while in a public place will now be automatically penalized, she warned.

“Sa tagal na ng COVID-19 pandemic, dapat nakaugalian na nating magsuot ng face mask dahil ito’y para sa ating kalusugan at kaligtasan,” Belmonte said.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday night announced that he has approved the Inter-Agency Task Force’s recommendation to put Metro Manila under GCQ starting on Monday.

He also said that Davao City will remain under GCQ while Regions 2, 3, 4A, and the province of Pangasinan and Albay will also be placed under GCQ until the general situation has been reviewed.

Iloilo City and Baguio City will also be under GCQ while Cebu City will shift to modified enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

The rest of the country will transition to modified ECQ, Duterte added.

Under the less stringent GCQ, more businesses will be allowed to reopen and a percentage of workers will return to work provided that health protocols like social distancing and wearing of face mask are observed.

Public transportation will also be allowed to operate at a limited capacity provided that social distancing is observed.

Mass gatherings and opening of leisure establishments will remain prohibited under GCQ.

Meanwhile, gatherings that are intended for the provision of critical government services and authorized humanitarian activities will be allowed, provided that minimum health standards are observed.

LRT-2 stops manual ticket selling to curb spread of COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   July 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Following the spike of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection among personnel of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), the management of Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2) has decided to stop manual ticket dispensing in all its stations. 

This is to prevent physical contact and COVID-19 transmission among ticket sellers and commuters.

Instead, all LRT-2 passengers will have to use the ticket vending machines to acquire a ticket.

According to LRTA Spokesperson Atty. Hernando Cabrera, manual ticket selling is not part of LRT-2’s plan upon the resumption of their operations on June 1 but the full use of their ticket vending machines.

“What we did is we start with small stations, This is what is happening now. Talagang lahat na ng istasyon, maliit o malaki, ticket vending machines na ang ginagamit natin wala nang selling sa teller [In all stations, we use ticket vending machines already and no tellers anymore],” Cabrera.

But the LRTA clarified that while the ticket sellers were unloaded of their ticket selling functions, they may still provide passenger assistance such as help for senior citizens and technical problems with ticket dispensing among other concerns.

All single journey tickets will be disinfected before they return to circulation, according to Cabrera.

At the end of the day kapag nakolekta na namin lahat ng single journey ticket dadalhin namin sa depot and then ika-quarantine namin sila for 72 hours,” Cabrera said.

[At the end of the day once we collected all single-journey tickets, we will bring them to the Depot for quarantine for 72 hours.]

By that time, based sa study ay patay na yung virus, saka palang namin sila irere encode and then ibabalik ulit sa sikulasyon,” he added.

[By that time, based on the study that the virus is eliminated, that’s the time we will re-encode and bring them back to circulation.]

At present, LRT-2 has recorded two confirmed COVID-19 cases among its personnel and undergoing quarantine. 

Both patients were office-based and no exposures to passengers. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

2 areas in San Juan City under lockdown due to spike of COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 9, 2020

Two areas in San Juan City are placed under lockdown due to the high number of confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

C. Santos Street in Barangay Balong Bato and J. Eustaquio Street in Barangay Proseso are considered critical zones by the local government of San Juan after a total of 13 COVID-19 cases were recorded.

Seven are from C. Santos Street while six are from J. Eustaquio Street. The two areas will be under lockdown from July 7 to July 22.

Based on National Task Force on Covid-19 Memorandum Circular No. 2, “a street shall be categorized as CrZ (Critical Zone) if at least two (2) cluster of cases, composed of either suspect, probable and/or confirmed COVID-19, are present in different houses, buildings or establishments along a specified street.”

The local government has provided assistance to 255 households affected by the lockdown, while police are deployed to monitor lockdown violators.

Meanwhile, San Juan’s Agora Market will remain closed until July 15 after 23 employees and vendors tested positive for COVID-19. The said market is now under disinfection and sanitation procedure.

As of July 8, the San Juan local government recorded a total of 481 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 134 active cases, 300 recoveries, and 47 deaths.

Based on the report, there is a spike in the daily number of new cases from June 27 compared to the recorded cases from June 15 to June 26. –AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

Tokyo 2020 expects to secure all venues for Games — local media

UNTV News   •   July 9, 2020

Tokyo Olympics organizers expect to be able to use all the venues as originally planned at next year’s rearranged Games, several Japanese media outlets reported on Thursday (July 9).

Securing venues was a top priority for organisers after the Games were pushed back to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Kyodo and NHK, citing unnamed sources, said they were now confident they would be tied down for Olympics use again.

However, at his regular weekly news conference, Tokyo 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya said the reports were “optimistic” and that nothing had been announced.

Last month, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said 80% of all venues needed had been secured, with the Athlete’s Village and Tokyo Big Sight, the planned media centre, among those yet to be fully secured.

Thursday’s reports also said the competition schedule would remain largely unchanged and that all tickets holders would be eligible for refunds, and that organisers would seek approval of these decisions from the IOC’s General Assembly on July 17.

Asked to confirm those details, Takaya said nothing had been decided and Tokyo 2020 did not expect to seek approval from the IOC next week. (Reuters)

(Production: Jack Tarrant)

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