MANILA, (15 April 2020) — National Task Force on COVID-19 (NTF on COVID-19) Chief Implementer Carlito G. Galvez Jr. urged local government units and other concerned agencies to strictly enforce the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) after lamenting how some areas have disregarded the guidelines of the lockdown.
“Nananawagan po ako sa ating Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), mayors, barangay captains, at ating Philippine National Police at Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) na lalo pa pong pa-igtingin ang pagpapatupad ng ECQ,” Galvez said during his virtual press briefing last night.
“May mga nakita po kaming mga tahasang paglabag ng lockdown. Muli po, kami ay nananawagan sa ating mga kababayan to stay at home,” he added.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte declared the implementation of ECQ throughout Luzon from March 16 to April 12 as the government ramped up its efforts to contain the spread of the disease.
The lockdown was later extended by the President until April 30 based on the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
Galvez reminded Filipinos to observe social distancing as this is one of the most effective ways to protect themselves from being infected and curb the spread of the disease.
He cited a number of LGUs in the country which have been able to effectively implement the ECQ and are now reaping positive results.
“Nakita natin ang lugar na may disiplina ay unti-unti ng gumaganda ang kanilang sitwasyon. Ehemplo natin ang Baguio, Valenzuela, Davao at CARAGA,” he said.
“Huwag po tayong magpabaya, dahil buhay ninyo at ng inyong pamilya ang nakataya. Nakita natin ang nangyari sa mga bansang hindi sumunod sa social distancing at lockdown. Libu-libo ang namamatay sa kanila araw-araw,” Galvez added.
Creation of TWG for Mass Testing
With the extension of the ECQ, the NTF on COVID-19 recommended to the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 the creation of a special task group that will spearhead the massive testing of suspected COVID-19-positive individuals.
The task group will focus on testing and contact tracing, specifically the consolidation of all suspected COVID-19 patients to designated testing and quarantine areas; prioritization of cities where the testing will be held; and the segregation and transport of COVID-19 positive patients to newly-constructed quarantine areas for treatment and medication.
“Ang malawakang testing at contact-tracing ay napakalahagang milestone sa ating kampanya laban sa COVID-19,” Galvez said.
“Pag nagawa na po natin ang malawakang testing, makikita na natin ang common and true picture sa lahat ng mga affected areas,” he added.
The task group will be composed of the Department of Health, MMDA, Department of Interior and Local Government, LGUs National Capital Region Police Office, AFP Joint Task Force-NCR, accredited testing laboratories, private medical teams, and civil society organizations.
Several government-designated quarantine facilities will start operating. These include the Rizal Memorial Complex, Philippine International Convention Center, World Trade Center, Philippine Sports Complex, Philippine Arena, and Ninoy Aquino Stadium started its operations and started accepting patients last Monday, April 13.
“Noong Lunes (April 13) ay binisita naman natin ang Ninoy Aquino Stadium at pormal na po nating nai-turn-over sa Lungsod ng Maynila at sa AFP ang pasilidad,” Galvez announced during the briefing.
PPEs for Frontliners
Around 12,000 sets of personal protective equipment (PPEs) arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport yesterday which is part of the 1 million sets of PPEs worth PhP 1.8 billion procured by the Philippine government from China.
The PPEs were transported to the Philippines at no cost to the government, as they were flown in by Xiamen Air of the People’s Republic of China.
“Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa Embahada ng China para sa libreng pagdala ng labindalawang libong (12,000) PPEs para sa ating mga healthcare workers,” Galvez said.
The turnover of PPEs were led by Galvez and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian and witnessed by officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Office of the Civil Defense, procurement service of the Department of Budget and Management, and the Chinese Embassy. ###