As January ends, Metro Manila’s fight against COVID-19 is strengthened through the improvement of quarantine measures, contact tracing, and testing. In terms of quarantine measures, President Rodrigo Duterte recalled the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF)’s rule to ease the age restriction of children between ages 10 to 14 in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). Meanwhile, the local government units of Pasig, Valenzuela, and Antipolo unified their contact tracing apps for the convenience of residents. Lastly, the Philippine Red Cross recently launched saliva testing, a cheaper and faster testing method for COVID-19.
President Duterte rolls back IATF ruling letting children ages 10 to 14 outdoors
On January 25, President Rodrigo Duterte recalled the IATF’s decision to ease age restrictions and allow children ages 10 to 14 to go outside. According to Duterte, he wants to prohibit children from going out due to reports of the new COVID-19 variant spreading easily in children . The IATF announced on January 22 that age restrictions will be eased in areas under modified general community quarantine effective February 1.
Free bus rides from SM City Manila to SM Mall of Asia launched
The local government of Manila and GET Philippines recently launched free shuttle rides from SM City Manila to SM Mall of Asia . The free shuttle rides are available from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM daily. The pickup point at SM Manila is located at the UG/F carpark driveway near taxi lane. To avail the free ride, passengers must download the Get-Pass mobile app that will be used for identification.
Medical front-liners to get extended free toll on Skyway Stage 3
Medical front-liners will continue to avail free toll fees on the newly-opened Skyway 3, according to San Miguel Corporation (SMC) President Ramon Ang last January 19 . The fees will be free for practitioners who will use the NAIA Expressway (NAIAX), Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR), South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), Skyway system, and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX). As of January 18, 2021, SMC has waived a total of PhP156 million worth of toll fees for medical practitioners.
Makati Shangri La to temporarily close from February 1
The Shangri-La group announced last January 20 that the Makati Shangri-La would be temporarily closed starting February 1. According to a company spokesperson, the temporary closure is part of the company’s “reorganization exercise.” Affected employees will be provided fair compensation packages that include extended healthcare coverage and grocery support until December 31, 2021. Shangri-La Makati will reopen when business conditions begin to improve again .
Philippine Red Cross launches saliva testing
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) launched the saliva test for COVID-19 test last January 25. PRC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Gordon stated that saliva testing is faster and cheaper compared to other COVID-19 testing methods. A saliva test costs PhP2,000, which makes it PhP1,800 cheaper than swab testing.
The procedure requires individuals to spit inside a sterile one-milliliter vial which will be sealed and documented. Saliva testing has a turnaround time of three to four hours. Those who will be undergoing saliva testing are recommended to avoid smoking, gargling, and eating at least an hour before testing .
Pasig, Valenzuela, and Antipolo City unify contact tracing apps
The contact tracing apps in Pasig, Valenzuela, and Antipolo City have merged in order to provide more convenience for users. In a virtually signed agreement, Mayor Rex Gatchalian, Mayor Vico Sotto, and Mayor Andrea Ynares agreed to use QR codes to monitor and strengthen the COVID-19 contact tracing in the three cities .
The apps were fully integrated last January 25, which means residents from the three areas can use their respective city’s contact tracing app within the other cities in the agreement. The unified contact tracing aims to limit downloading of many QR code systems that can be used in different cities.
Go to Yoorekka for more COVID-19 updates in Metro Manila.
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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