IATF provisionally approves guidelines for pilot implementation of alert level response to COVID-19 in NCR
By Robina Asido
The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) provisionally approved the guidelines for the pilot implementation of ''alert level system for COVID-19 response" in the National Capital Region.
In his briefing on Friday, Presidential Harry Roque said only two quarantine classifications will be implemented: enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and general community quarantine (GCQ).
Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Epimaco Densing hoped that the pilot implementation of the granular lockdown in Metro Manila will be implemented starting September 16 to 30.
"If it is ECQ it will be declared by the IATF, but if not ECQ, the classification is GCQ. This GCQ is different from the GCQ that we know, This GCQ will defend on the alert level of different cities and municipalities," Roque said.
Roque said unlike before only the medical and allied medical professionals, overseas Filipino Workers will go in and out of the country. Those who have an emergency patient will be allowed to move in and out of areas under granular lockdown.
Densing explained that the restriction for the areas under granular lockdown will no longer be based on the areas but to the "sectors, industry and activities."
"The ECQ can also be called as Alert Level 5, and the areas that are not under lockdown, we use Alert Level 1,2,3 and 4." he said.
"We have Alert Level 5. We are still finalizing the terminology if it will be called as Alert Level 5 or ECQ. But it only means that it will only be declared as a last resort of the IATF and it will be our hard lockdown," Densing added.
He noted that under Alert Level Four closed or indoor activities, crowded areas and activities that will promote close contact is prohibited.
In Alert Level Three, only 30 percent maximum capacity will be allowed, 50 percent for Alert Level Two and Alert Level One is what we called the new normal where almost everything is allowed as long as people still observe public health standards and an additional 10 percent capacity will be allowed if the establishment has safety seal certification.
Densing said the granular lockdown can only be declared by the local government if there is a recommendation from the local health officials.
"Our granular lockdown will be declared by the mayor up to the barangay level. But... we add a provision that before a mayor can declare a granular lockdown in a barangay, there should be a recommendation from the local health official," he said.
He also explained that unlike the granular lockdown that was being implemented for just a few days last year, the IATF set a standard of two weeks or 14 days.
"It is a 14 day standard granular lockdown. The local government in the areas under granular lockdown will automatically have active case finding. They will conduct house to house and on the ground testing, and if we will put the COVID-19 positive individuals in our isolation facilities," he added.
Densing said there are three things that are still being finalized by the task force.
He said these include the proposal for a vaccine bubble in NCR, the request of the trade and commerce sector to allow more than 30 percent al fresco and dine-in in areas under Alert Level Four, and the request of the MMDA to review the criteria for declaring alert levels in NCR.
Densing emphasized the importance of the implementation of granular lockdown because he says data shows that "80 percent of COVID-19 cases comes from the 11 up to 30 ;percent of barangays."
"In the National Capital Region NCR, 80 percent of COVID cases come from 12 percent of our barangay. So if we will be able to put this 12 percent under granular lockdown, automatic we will be able to address the 80 percent of COVID-19 cases and hopefully the remaining 20 percent which we haven't identified will no longer be able to spread the virus," he said. DMS