This Week News

This Week in Metro Manila (December 5 to 11, 2020)

Metro Manila prepares for the holiday season amid the pandemic.

By: Denisse Shawntel Tan | December 05, 2020
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Metro Manila, Christmas, holiday season, COVID-19, GCQ, Lockdown News, Traffic News, Travel Updates, Shopping News, Health News

With just a few days to go before Christmas, Filipinos are still adjusting to an unusual holiday season amid the pandemic. To fight the spread of COVID-19, Metro Manila was placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) until the end of the year.

Since OFWs are expected to return to the country starting December 7, the Philippine Airlines (PAL) opened their own COVID-19 testing facility for balikbayans (Filipinos returning to the Philippines). To make sure that health protocols are being followed in public spaces during the holidays, the Philippine National Police (PNP), as well as health experts, reminded the public to follow health protocols in malls and churches.

Lockdown News

Metro Manila remains under GCQ

Metro Manila and six other areas will remain under GCQ for the entire December as announced by President Rodrigo Duterte last November 30. Along with Metro Manila, the following areas are also under GCQ: Batangas, Davao City, Iligan, Iloilo City, Lanao del Sur, and Tacloban City. Meanwhile, the rest of the country will be under modified GCQ [1].

Traffic News

Number coding will remain suspended until the end of the year

The Metropolitan Manila Development (MMDA) announced on November 29 that the number coding scheme might resume next year. Due to limited transportation, the number coding will remain suspended until the end of 2020. MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago said that the MMDA will consult with Metro Manila mayors for the decision on the re-implementation of the scheme. The number coding scheme was suspended in mid-March when President Duterte implemented the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon [2].

Travel Updates

Returning OFWs can return to the Philippines starting December 7

Overseas Filipino workers, Filipino citizens, and their foreign family members can re-enter the Philippines starting December 6, Malacañang announced last November 27 [3]. Under Resolution No. 85, balikbayans who will re-enter the country must undergo COVID-19 testing at airport-based laboratories and must pre-book a quarantine facility. Other guidelines will be set by the Bureau of Immigration. The Department of Tourism will also create their own set of guidelines regarding accommodations for foreign nationals waiting for their test results.

The agency task force decided to reopen the Philippines to balikbayans in consideration of the upcoming yuletide season. In addition, visits from Filipinos who grew up abroad are also seen as possible factors that can revive the country’s tourism industry.

PAL opens own COVID-19 testing facility

Passengers with domestic and international flights can now avail RT-PCR testing through Philippine Airlines’ own testing center in Manila. Located at the Philippine Airlines Learning Center in Ermita, the testing facility is capable of releasing test results within 12 to 24 hours.

PAL ticket holders can avail a PhP500 discount from the original PhP4,500 price. Walk-ins and drive-thrus are available from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM from Monday to Sunday [4]. Payments can be done in card, cash, and other cashless payment systems like PayPal, Alipay, Gcash, and WeChat Pay.

When in the testing facility, passengers must present their PAL tickets, IDs, and QR codes for the completion of their PAL passenger profile and health declaration form. The form must be accomplished as soon as 5 days before departure date, with the exception of flights to Australia, Canada, and US.

Shopping News

PNP reminds public to follow protocols during holiday season

To prevent a spike in COVID-19 cases during the holidays, the Philippine National Police (PNP) asked the public to follow guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) when in public places such as malls, churches, and tiangges (mini markets). PNP Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana recommends avoiding crowded areas if possible.

If unavoidable, health protocols such as physical distancing and wearing of PPE must be followed. He added that police officers will be deployed in public areas to enforce health protocols [5]. Earlier, carolings and Christmas parties were also prohibited in order to avoid mass gatherings.

Health News

Health experts remind public about health protocols during holidays

In a virtual press briefing last November 30, the Health Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC) discouraged the public from attending and planning big social gatherings during the Christmas season.

HPAAC convenor Dr. Antonio Dans said that it’s recommended to celebrate with families within the same household. Aside from giving reminders about following safety protocols, Dans also warned the public about the potential increase in COVID-19 cases if people dismiss the threat of the virus. Since studies found that four out of every 100 persons infected with COVID-19 are either experiencing mild symptoms or are asymptomatic, Dans noted how hard it is to protect oneself from the virus if even the infected patient is not aware of his or her condition [6].

In case gatherings with friends and extended family members cannot be avoided, Dans recommends meet-ups in outdoor settings. Interactions are also recommended to last only anywhere from 15 minutes to a maximum of 30 minutes. HPAAC also reminds everyone to practice physical distancing and wearing PPEs.

Go to Yoorekka for more COVID-19 updates in Metro Manila.

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About Denisse Shawntel Tan
Denisse Tan is currently a work in progress: she’s an aspiring writer, artist, and fashion designer! She’s trying to figure out how to manage her time in achieving all of her goals while also taking in life as humanly possible. Aside from art, she’s a big fan of the color pink, disco music, Bratz dolls, and Genshin Impact. By age 35, she plans to travel to New York City 🗽.
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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