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Quezon City News

Quezon City eyes transition to GCQ 

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Quezon City wants a shift to a transition period to general community quarantine (GCQ) in the event that the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) lapses on May 15.

This will be discussed in a meeting of Metro Manila Mayors scheduled on May 9.

While the final decision rests with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), if the QC local government were to have its way, it plans to implement the Transition Period to GCQ until May 31. This will allow business establishments to adapt to localized guidelines currently being developed in anticipation of a “new normal” setting due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Mayor Joy Belmonte said the localized guidelines intend to jumpstart the revival of the local economy while ensuring the safety of the city’s residents through the implementation of strict health protocols in business establishments to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 disease.

“Necessary preventive measures should be in place and the health and safety of workers and customers must be guaranteed before we allow them to operate again,” said Belmonte.

As of May 08, the city has recorded 1,156 positive COVID cases as confirmed by the Quezon City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (QC-ESU), 337 recoveries, and 134 deaths in a total population closer to approximately four million, that includes transients and those stranded as a result of the ECQ. The city has three local government hospitals and hosts more than thirty private and national government hospitals and healthcare facilities that may contribute to the City Government’s COVID related response.

“While the health of our residents remains our primary priority, we also need to look after the local economy, which has been affected severely by the dreaded virus,” she stressed.

Under the localized guidelines, business establishments are required to report their production capacities and commensurate workforce requirements. They should likewise check for the health conditions of their workforce prior to allowing return to work, facilitate testing of workers, quarantine workers as needed, implement thermal scanning and social distancing in the workplace, and institute disinfection schedules.

“Penalties will be imposed to those who will fail to report,” according to Assistant City Administrator for Operations Alberto Kimpo.

Big business establishments are encouraged to have their staff tested for COVID-19 and to prepare quarantine facilities for them.

“Businesses must also implement mandatory temperature check at all entry points while dividers must be installed between work stations to prevent physical contact,” he said.

Kimpo added that no 24-hour operation will be allowed to give way to regular disinfection, except for medical related establishments. The guidelines also mandate a one-day closure for businesses for disinfection and sanitation, including an option to re-implement ECQ in Barangays or portions thereof that are found to continue having high COVID infection rates, subject to the approval of the IATF-NCR.

The city government assured the continued distribution of various financial aid, such as the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), the local government’s SAP, and the Kalingang QC.

“Checkpoints will be retained and may be made stricter in priority areas, community testing will continue and contact tracing will be beefed up to help control the virus. These are among the initial recommendations we have gathered from the different concerned departments, most crucial of all from the Quezon City Health Department and its Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit,” Kimpo stressed.

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