COVID-19 Crisis: DTI calls for gradual shift to Alert Level 1

Are you tired of living with restrictions and government overreach these past two years as a result of the COVID-19 crisis? A lot of people are not just tired of it but also frustrated as many of them saw their loss of income, losing their jobs, the closure of their businesses as well as an enormous negative impact on their lives. To manage the people living under the pandemic all around the Philippines, an Alert Level system was established months ago as part of quarantine in relation to the number of new and active COVID-19 cases. Currently Metro Manila is under Alert Level 2, however in the City of Parañaque the restrictions on the unvaccinated are still in effect. Parañaque is one of four Metro Manila local government units (LGUs) that still have not lifted the restrictions on unvaccinated people while Metro Manila is placed under Alert Level 2.

For economic recovery and the uplifting of the country, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) called for the gradual shift to the looser and more business-friendly Alert Level 1, according to a GMA Network news report. It should be noted that new cases of COVID-19 infections have declined recently.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the GMA News report. Some parts in boldface…

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Wednesday backed the calls to downgrade the quarantine status of the country to Alert Level 1 to open more businesses and jobs amid the decreasing number of new COVID-19 infections.

In a Super Radyo dzBB interview, DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said should the country (shift) to Alert Level 1, which is the lowest in the alert level system, it has to be done slowly as there is still the lingering threat of COVID-19.

“Kung mag Alert Level 1 tayo, na gusto din ni (DTI) Sec. Mon (Lopez) na mangyari pero dahan-dahan lang, nandiyan pa rin ‘yung virus. So, kailangan pa rin nating sundin lahat ng health protocols,” she said.

(If we shift to Alert Level 1, which Sec. Mon wants to happen, it should be done slowly because the virus is still there. So, we still need to follow all the health protocols.)

Currently, the National Capital Region (NCR) and several provinces are under Alert Level 2 from February 1 to 15.

Under Alert Level 2, certain establishments and activities are allowed at 50% capacity indoors for fully vaccinated adults and minors, and 70% capacity outdoors, even if unvaccinated.

Meanwhile, under Alert Level 1, all establishments, persons, or activities, are allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken at full on-site or venue/seating capacity provided it follows minimum health standards. This, however, excludes areas under granular lockdown.

Castelo said about 1.5 million businesses in the country can operate at full capacity if the quarantine restrictions are further eased, thus allowing more people to return to work.

“Pagka nag-100% na, full capacity na lahat ng negosyo, lahat nung nagtatrabaho before COVID, ‘yun na din ang makakabalik ngayon,” she said.

(If the businesses are at 100% or at full capacity, all employees working before the pandemic could go back to work now.)

When several areas in the country, including the NCR, moved from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2, the DTI estimated that around 100,000 to 200,000 employees got back to work. That is an addition of almost 16,000 workers weekly, Castelo said.

It would be nice to see the shift to Alert Level 1 actually happen as it means better economic recovery, more employment and a healthier society. I personally want the government-imposed restrictions on businesses and on people removed. Remember the sudden ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) in Metro Manila that happened last August followed by the ban on outdoor exercise? A lot of people got frustrated with those two Metro Manila unfortunate developments months ago. Observe closely how the Metro Manila mayors and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) behave and make decisions. Oh yes, Benhur Abalos is no longer MMDA chairman.

Meanwhile, vaccination programs and COVID-19 testing are being organized most of the time and the more people get vaccinated, the better for the nation and its economic recovery. It would be great for the Philippines to acquire more Sputnik Light and Sputnik V vaccines as they have proven to be effective in protecting people from the infectious Omicron variant. Very recently, Sputnik Light has been approved for use in India and that is something the national government’s officials should seriously consider for acquiring more vaccines for the entire Philippines.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the DTI’s call for the gradual adjustment into the looser Alert Level 1? Do you think the national government as well as local government units (LGUs) have gotten too far with governing and managing us people? Do you think that the more people get vaccinated, the more our country will overcome this pandemic?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Unvaccinated people are still restricted in Parañaque City under Alert Level 2

People who remain unvaccinated are still restricted in Parañaque City, according to the news report by the Manila Bulletin. It seems that the recent shift of control of Metro Manila into Alert Level 2 does not matter to the said city.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the report of the Manila Bulletin. Some parts in boldface…

The Paranaque City government will continue to restrict the movement of unvaccinated individuals despite the de-escalation of Metro Manila to Alert Level 2 quarantine status, Mayor Edwin Olivarez said on Wednesday, Feb. 2.

The mayor said unvaccinated individuals must always stay at home unless there is a need to buy essential goods and in need of medical services.

Olivarez said residents ages 18 years old and above are allowed to go out of their residences while the 17-year olds and below are only permitted outside if they are accompanied by fully vaccinated relatives.

(He) said for transportation, the city government allows tricycles to carry three passengers while buses and jeepneys are allowed to operate at 70% capacity.

The mayor said for businesses, the city government advised the establishments to apply for a safety seal so they can be allowed 10% additional operational and venue capacity.

As far as Manila Bulletin’s reporting above goes, things look really blunt in Parañaque City which itself is one of four cities in the National Capital Region (NCR) that have no automatic lifting of restrictions against unvaccinated in relation to the shift to Alert Level 2. This was confirmed by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairperson Benhur Abalos himself in a separate news report. Legally speaking, Parañaque’s restrictions on unvaccinated people (for references, click here and here) remain because the approved city ordinance allegedly has no automatic lifting clause (refer to the same GMA news report with Abalos involved).

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the GMA Network news report. Some parts in boldface…

In a press conference, Abalos said the ordinances of Parañaque, Pasay, Quezon City, and Pateros have no automatic lifting clause for the restrictions against unvaccinated people.

Four LGUs don’t have automatic lifting clause but three LGUs will be issuing a new executive order. These are Parañaque, Pasay, and Quezon City,” he said.

“Only Pateros will be left as they will still discuss the issue tomorrow,” he added.

The Metro Manila Council (MMC), composed of the 17 mayors in the region, earlier agreed to restrict the mobility of unvaccinated people in the NCR under the Alert Level 3. These LGUs issued their respective ordinances on the matter.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a resident of Parañaque City and you are unvaccinated, do you feel betrayed by your current City Government? Are the local restrictions on unvaccinated persons and businesses affecting you personally and professionally? Do the current restrictions make you think twice about voting in the next local elections? Do you feel like reaching out to anti-vaccine fanatics and SJWs (social justice warriors) from around the country and overseas to come to Parañaque and organize massive protest rallies to compel the City Government to act?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Parañaque City issues new ordinance restricting the mobility of the unvaccinated

The City Government of Parañaque made it official to restrict the mobility of the people of the city who remain unvaccinated for COVID-19 by means of issuing a city ordinance or local law in relation to the Alert Level 3 status of Metro Manila, according to a Manila Bulletin news report. How will this affect the welfare of the people and the local businesses will be seen in the near future.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Manila Bulletin news report. Some parts in boldface…


Paranaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez signed Ordinance No. 1, Series of 2022, that regulates the movement of unvaccinated individuals in the city and provides penalties while Metro Manila is under Alert Level 3 until Jan. 31.

Olivarez said the city government now bans the entry of unvaccinated individuals to malls, restaurants, and public transportation under the ordinance which was passed and approved by the City Council. He said that unvaccinated persons must remain in their residences at all times, except when absolutely necessary.

The City Health Office (CHO) recorded a significant increase in active cases following the recent holiday celebrations. From one active case last December 24, it has since spiked to 548 active cases last January 17.

Olivarez said that based on the ordinance, all COVID-19 cases, including asymptomatic, mild, probable, suspected cases, and close contacts are mandated to undergo quarantine at home or in the city’s isolation facilities if requirements for home quarantine are not met as certified by the CHO.

He said unvaccinated individuals are prohibited in indoor and outdoor/al fresco dining in restaurants or other food establishments located anywhere in the city.

“They (unvaccinated persons) are also prohibited from leisure or social trips to malls, hotels, event venues, sports and country clubs, and similar facilities,” Olivarez said.

Concerned local establishments were encouraged to display near the entrance to their establishments a copy of the ordinance.

The ordinance penalizes individual violators with a fine of P 1,000 for the first offense, P3,000 for the second, and P5,000 for the third and subsequent offenses.

The above article ended stating that if a violator is found resisting or trying to escape from apprehending authorities, an additional maximum penalty will be imposed.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a resident of Parañaque City and you still have not been vaccinated for COVID-19, do you feel threatened or protected by this new ordinance that restricts the mobility of the unvaccinated? Do you believe that the new ordinance was composed to be fair and just? If you run a business there in Parañaque, what is the worst thing that could happen to your business under the new ordinance? If you are a voter in the city, how will this development affect your selection of candidates in the May 2022 local elections?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Vaccination registration for patients aged 5 to 11 officially launched in Muntinlupa City

The COVID-19 situation is getting worse at the moment here in the Philippines and Metro Manila is literally the hot spot of new infections. As the City of Parañaque launched news rules targeting the unvaccinated people and the local businesses within their jurisdiction, the COVID-19 vaccine registration process for younger minors (aged 5 to 11) in the City of Muntinlupa was officially launched according to a Manila Bulletin news report.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin report. Some parts in boldface…

The Muntinlupa City government launched the registration for COVID-19 vaccination of minors aged 5 to 11 years old.

Included in the registration are 5-to-11-year-olds with and without comorbidities. The registration was launched to make a master list of kids for vaccination while the city government is awaiting final guidelines from the Department of Health (DOH).

According to the Muntinlupa City Health Office (CHO), a total of 260 minors aged 5 to 11 have registered for vaccination to date.

Former Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo announced last Dec. 23 that the agency approved the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be used for 5 to 11-year-olds.

He said the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) and the Department of Health (DOH) were planning to roll out the vaccination of 5 to 11-year-olds as early as January but it would depend on the supply.

“It will depend if they have already ordered or if they have already secured [supply], already bought supplies for the vaccine for children and if they are ready to roll out. The plan is really as early as January,” he said.

According to Domingo, Pfizer applied for the EUA for 5 to 11 years old at the end of November, saying, “This vaccine is already being used in children in many countries such as the US, in Europe and in Canada and upon the review of the technical documents and the evaluation of the US FDA recommendations, our experts have found that data submitted is sufficient for the EUA approval.”

“It is reasonable to believe that the vaccine may be effective to prevent COVID-19 and the benefits of vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks.

The dosage that will be administered to minors aged 5 to 11 years old will be lower than those given to adults and 12 to 17 years old.

The above article ended stating that to register online, users should click https://vaccine.muntinlupacity.gov.ph/muncovac and choose from “Pediatric A3 (5-11 yrs. old)” – with comorbidities or “Pediatric/Rest of the Pediatric Population (5-11 yrs. old)” – without comorbidities.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Muntinlupa City resident, what can you say about this latest local development? If you are a parent living in Muntinlupa with children aged 5 to 11, are you willing to have them registered for vaccination right now?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Alert Level 3 in Metro Manila takes effect today

In case you missed the news, the daily count of new COVID-19 infections around the Philippines has gone up sharply since the last few days of December 2021. On the evening of December 31, it was announced by the national government that Metro Manila will be placed under Alert Level status starting today – January 3, 2022 – until the 15th.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Philippine News Agency’s article. Some parts in boldface…

The alert level status in Metro Manila will be raised anew from the current Level 2 to Alert Level 3 from Jan. 3 to 15, 2022, Malacañang announced on Friday night.

In a public announcement, acting presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) decided to shift to a more stringent alert level status as the country saw a spike in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections.

“Nakita naman natin sa mga nakaraang araw ay nag-increase exponentially ang mga kaso dahil sa Holiday activities kung saan tumaas ang movement ng mga tao at bumaba ang compliance sa minimum public health standards. Isa rin sa dahilan ang detection ng local cases ng Omicron variant (We saw an exponential rise during the past days because of the Holiday activities where there were increased movement and compliance with minimum public health standards may have been disregarded. Local cases of the Omicron variant were also detected),” he said.

Nograles added that an increase in Covid-19 positive cases is expected in the succeeding days thus, the IATF’s decision

After 12 days of active cases below 10,000, the number increased to 10,418 on December 29 and was at 14,233 by year-end after 2,961 new cases.

The Department of Health also confirmed 10 new cases of the Omicron variant, with three already recovered.

Nograles cited a “high possibility” of local transmission of the Omicron variant.

Under Alert Level 3, establishments or activities shall be allowed to operate or be undertaken at a maximum of 30 percent indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 50 percent outdoor venue capacity, provided that all workers of the establishments are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Movements

Intrazonal and interzonal movement are still allowed, however, reasonable restrictions may be imposed by the LGUs, which should not be stricter as those prescribed under higher alert levels and subject to the oversight, monitoring, and evaluation of their respective Regional IATF.

Those below 18 years of age, and those belonging to the vulnerable population, shall be allowed access to obtain essential goods and services, or for work in permitted industries and offices in accordance with existing labor laws, rules, and regulations. Individual outdoor exercises shall also be allowed for all ages regardless of comorbidities or vaccination status. 2.

Prohibited activities

Meanwhile, the following establishments and activities that are considered high-risk for transmission under Alert Level 3 are not allowed:

  1. Face to face or in-person classes for basic education, except those earlier permitted by the IATF and Office of the President;
  2. Contact sports, except those conducted under bubble-type setup, as provided for under relevant guidelines adopted by the IATF, Games and Amusement Board, and Philippine Sports Commission, and approved by the LGU where such games shall be held;
  3. Funfairs/carnivals and kid amusement industries like playgrounds, playroom, and kiddie rides;
  4. Venues with live voice or wind-instrument performers and audiences such as in karaoke bars, clubs, concert halls, and theaters;
  5. Casinos, horse racing, cockfighting and operation of cockpits, lottery and betting shops, and other gaming establishments, except those that will be allowed by the IATF or Office of the President; and
  6. Gatherings in residences with individuals not belonging to the same household.

Allowed activities

He said allowed activities under Alert Level 3 at a maximum of 30% indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 50% outdoor venue capacity are the following: 

  1. Venues for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE);
  2. Permitted venues for social events such as parties, wedding receptions, engagement parties, wedding anniversaries, debut and birthday parties, family reunions, and bridal or baby showers; 
  1. Visitor or tourist attractions such as libraries, archives, museums, galleries, exhibits, parks, plazas, public gardens, scenic viewpoints or overlooks, and the like;
  2. Amusement parks or theme parks;
  3. Recreational venues such as internet cafes, billiard halls, amusement arcades, bowling alleys, skating rinks, archery halls, swimming pools, and similar venues;
  4. Cinemas and movie houses;
  5. Limited face-to-face or in-person classes for higher education and for technical-vocational education and training;
  6. In-person religious gatherings; gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, and funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 and for the cremains of the COVID-19 deceased;
  7. Licensure or entrance/qualifying examinations administered by their respective government agency, and specialty examinations authorized by the IATF subject to the health and safety guidelines as approved by the IATF;
  8. Dine-in services in food preparation establishments such as kiosks, commissaries, restaurants, and eateries, subject to DTI sector-specific protocols;
  9. Personal care establishments such as barbershops, hair spas, hair salons, and nail spas, and those offering aesthetic/cosmetic services or procedures, make-up services, salons, spas, reflexology, and other similar procedures including home service options, subject to the sector-specific protocols of the DTI;
  10. Fitness studios, gyms, and venues for non-contact exercise and sports, subject to DTI sector-specific protocols. Provided that patrons/clients and workers/employees wear face masks at all 3 times and that no group activities are conducted; and
  11. Film, music, and television production, subject to the joint guidelines as may be issued by the DTI, DOLE, and the DOH.

These activities will be allowed provided that all on-site workers/employees of these establishments and organizers of activities are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and MPHS shall be strictly maintained. There is no objection from the LGU where these activities may take place.

The IATF, he said, instructed the Technical Working Group headed by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and National Vaccination Operations Center to craft guidelines in the implementation of stricter measures for the unvaccinated individuals.

Metro Manila was under Alert Level 2 for some time and a lot of people and their families have been enjoying the added freedom of movement due to the reduction of restrictions. This, of course, contributed to the crowding at stores and food-and-beverage joints, and the rise of parties or social gatherings during the Christmas season. Along the way, cases of Omicron in the Philippines started to grow. Omicron, which has been magnified by the secular, liberal media organizations and caused a lot of problems worldwide, is feared for being more contagious. Since Omicron is a problem in the country, I can only hope that the national authorities will consider acquiring a new and much bigger batch of the Russian vaccines Sputnik V and Sputnik Light as those vaccines were declared effective against the feared variant.

Other than raising the alert level and putting up more restrictions, the authorities should deal with the Omicron variant fast. I would not be surprised that the local stock market will lose points as long as the Omicron variant remains a problem in the Philippines. For those living in Metro Manila, I encourage you all to pay close attention to the Metro Manila Council (MMC) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and examine how they will act, react and behave this time around. Let’s observe if those officials won’t be too distracted with pre-election activities related to the May 2022 national and local elections so that they can do their jobs efficiently.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Metro Manila resident, what is your reaction to this development? Do you think the daily number of new COVID-19 cases will fall to less than one thousand per day by January 15, 2022? Are you afraid of the Omicron variant? Do you think it is time for the government to import more Sputnik vaccines to push back against Omicron-related infections?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Face shields no longer mandatory in areas under Alert Levels 1 to 3

It took a long time to happen but it finally happened at last and will surely provide people relief from the so-called protective but inconvenient face shields. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommended lifting of the mandatory use of face shields specifically in areas under Alert Level 1, 2 and 3, according to a Philippine News Agency (PNA) report. The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) recommended the lifting in response to the much-improved situations (note: low daily counts of new COVID-19 infections and the continued rise of people getting vaccinated) of the nation under the pandemic. Be reminded that prior to this new development, there was a collective push to make face shields non-mandatory in Metro Manila.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Philippine News Agency report. Some parts in boldface…

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to lift the mandatory use of face shields in areas under Alert Level 1 to 3.

“Ang decision ko is okay, tanggalin nyo na yung [face] shields. Pwede na ninyong (My decision is okay, you can remove face shields. You can), you dispense with the shields but not the (face) mask,” Duterte said in his prerecorded “Talk to the People”.

Duterte said face mask would remain part of the day-to-day safety measure “kasi matagal pa itong virus na nasa hangin lang (because the virus which is airborne will be here for a long time).”

He urged the public to make sure that the Covid-19 positivity rate in the country will continue to go down by following the health and safety protocols.

“You have to obey what the government will tell you to do because it’s for the good of the country and for you. Sumunod lang kayo (Just obey),” he said.

On Monday, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued a memorandum detailing the voluntary use of face shields in places with a relatively low Covid-19 alert level.

According to the memorandum, the use of face shields in community settings shall remain mandatory in areas under Alert Level 5 and granular lockdowns.

For places under Alert Level 4, local government units and private establishments are given the discretion to maintain or remove the wearing of face shields policy.

People residing in places under alert levels 3, 2, and 1 can voluntarily use the face shields as their added protection.

“The above protocols are without prejudice to the continuing mandatory use of face shields in medical and quarantine facility settings, and the required use thereof by healthcare workers in healthcare settings,” the order read.

The IATF-EID on Dec. 14, 2020 issued Resolution 88, requiring all persons to wear full-coverage face shields on top of face masks in all public places to control the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Based on the above details, for as long as an area is under Alert Level 3 and lower, face shields are no longer mandatory. Just optional. While a lot of face shields believers out there expressed that the said items are highly protective and prevent COVID-19 from entering people’s eyes, face shields are always inconvenient as they obscure people’s visions and make verbal communication even harder. Try talking to someone while you are wearing both a face mask (which itself muffles your speaking) and a face shield.

As long as COVID-19 infections are low and as long as people practice caution, walking around and doing your objectives without face shields can be done in areas under Alert Level 1-3. With the recent change, I encourage you to pay close attention to your own locality and also observe how the Metro Manila mayors and the MMDA will act and think now that face shields are no longer required in areas under Alert Level 1-3.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you relieved that face shields are no longer mandatory in areas under Alert Level 1-3? How much money did you spend on face shields since the start of the pandemic? How many face shields do you have right now?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Alert Level 2 in effect already in Metro Manila, good until November 21

Wow. That was quick! The Alert Level 3 of control on Metro Manila that was supposed to last until November 14, 2021, suddenly ended as Alert Level 2 was declared by the national authorities late in the evening of November 4 and took effect as November 5 started. This new level of control on Metro Manila will last until November 21, 2021.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) article about Alert Level 2. Key parts in boldface…

Metro Manila will be under a more relaxed Alert Level 2 quarantine classification starting Nov. 5 until Nov. 21, Malacañang announced on Thursday night.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Thursday, November 4, 2021, approved the de-escalation of the National Capital Region to Alert Level 2. This shall take effect beginning tomorrow, November 5, 2021 until November 21, 2021,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.

The IATF also approved the recommendation of the sub-Technical Working Group on Data Analytics to base the alert level assignments on data that is nearest to the implementation date.

“Starting December 1, 2021, alert level assignments shall be determined at every 15th and 30th of the month. Escalations, on the other hand, may be done at any time in the middle of the implementation period as warranted while de-escalations can only be done at the end of the 2-week assessment period,” he added.

Roque said the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF), together with the Regional Task Forces and Regional IATFs, were directed to provide weekly feedback on the progress and implementation on all areas identified for Alert Level System roll-out to the IATF.

The IATF, he said, also amended the guidelines on the implementation of Alert Levels System for Covid-19 Response in pilot areas to clarify the allowed movement of persons under varying alert levels.

Meanwhile, Roque said the NTF also approved the fourth phase of the National Action Plan Against Covid-19 (NAP Phase IV) using indices to measure the success of the implementation.

For Infection Management, the indices are the number of severe and critical cases per month, time gap from detection to isolation, and tests per case;

Vaccine Roll-out will rely on the total vaccines administered per capita, new vaccine doses administered per capita, and fully vaccinated individuals; and

For Socio-Economic Recovery, the indices are the Purchasing Managers’ Index by IHS Markit, google mobility to retail and recreation, and number of commercial airline passengers.

Under Alert Level 2, the following are allowed to operate, or be undertaken at a maximum of 50 percent indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals and those below 18 years of age, even if unvaccinated, and 70 percent outdoor venue capacity provided that workers of the said establishments are fully vaccinated against Covid-19:

–Venues for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE)

–Permitted venues for social events (parties, wedding receptions, family reunions, and bridal or baby showers)

–Visitor or tourist attractions (libraries, museums, galleries, parks, plazas, public gardens, scenic viewpoints)

–Amusement parks or theme parks

–Recreational venues (internet cafes, billiard halls, arcades, bowling alleys, swimming pools, and similar venues)

–Cinemas and movie houses

–Limited face-to-face or in-person classes for basic education subject to prior approval of the Office of the President

–Limited face-to-face or in-person classes for higher education and for technical-vocational education and training

–In-person religious gatherings; gatherings for necrological services, wakes, and funerals for Covid-19 cremains and non-Covid-19 deaths

–Licensure or entrance/qualifying examinations and authorized specialty examinations

–Dine-in services of food preparation establishments

–Personal care establishments such as barbershops, spas, salons, and other similar procedures, including home service options

–Fitness studios, gyms, and venues for individual non-contact exercise and sports

–Film, music, and television production

–Contact sports approved by the LGU

–Funfairs/peryas or kid amusement industries (playgrounds, playroom, and kiddie rides)

–Venues with live voice or wind-instrument performers and audiences (karaoke bars, clubs, concert halls, and theaters)

–Gatherings in residences with individuals not belonging to the same household

In relation to the above information load, I recommend you readers to pay close attention to the details and explanations about the new COVID-19 Alert Levels System which were emphasized in the recent article of the Manila Bulletin. This is to help you readers, particularly Metro Manila residents, to avoid confusion about how the system works.

Now posted below are a few relevant news videos…

While it is indeed surprising to see the IATF change the level of control in Metro Manila before the current Alert Level 3 ended, the new Alert Level 2, in my honest opinion, will prove to be crucial for the private sector and the many struggling businesses to bounce back commercially as the limits on capacity have been eased. Businesses now need as much time as possible to come up with the money needed to pay the mandatory 13th month pay of their employees. Speaking of employees, the unemployed will have better chances to work again under Alert Level 2.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this latest development? Do you believe the IATF made the right decision to ease the restrictions on Metro Manila a level lower? Are you concerned that new infections of COVID-19 in Metro Manila will rise soon after?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: OCTA Research favors the suggestion about not requiring moviegoers to wear face shields inside the cinemas

Here in metropolitan Manila in the Philippines, local cinemas are set to reopen on November 10, 2021 which will be a very important day for the cinema operators and their respective employees as the restrictions related to lockdown and the current COVID-19 crisis kept them closed since March 2020. For updates about Metro Manila cinemas, I encourage you to follow the Cinema Exhibitors Association of the Philippines (CEAP) Facebook page.

As the reopening of Metro Manila cinemas gets closer, it was reported by the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) that the OCTA Research group favors the suggestion that the wearing of face shields inside cinema should NOT be required as such things are not only uncomfortable but will surely make movie viewing an unpleasant experience. Take note that only fully vaccinated people (those who got vaccinated with two doses of most brands of COVID-19 vaccines) will be allowed to pay and enter cinemas (limited to 30% seating capacity) under the rules of Alert Level 3. Alert Level 3 in Metro Manila was recently extended.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Inquirer news report. Some parts in boldface…

The OCTA Research said Tuesday it supports the suggestion on not requiring the wearing of face shields in cinemas.

For OCTA Research fellow Guido David, watching movies will not be enjoyable if the audience will be required to wear face shields. He noted that removing the requirement of wearing face shields in cinemas was also brought up in a forum.

We should still wear face masks, but face shields, that’s a different topic. That can be discussed, because in fact we were in a Go Negosyo forum and they were discussing about removing the requirement for face shields in theaters because it actually makes sense. If you go to a theater, it would not be an enjoyable experience if you are wearing a face shield,” Guido told ABS-CBN News Channel’s Headstart.

Asked if he supports removing the requirement of wearing face shields in cinemas, David said: “We would support it because I think the move is to allow only vaccinated people to enter theaters.

The reopening of cinemas was earlier allowed in Metro Manila as the region shifted to Alert Level 3. However, only fully vaccinated people will be allowed in theaters with an indoor seating capacity of 30 percent.

From this point on, we will find out soon enough how the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Metro Manila Council (MMC) will react to what OCTA Research declared about face shields inside the cinemas.

Whatever their reactions will be, I urge Metro Manila readers among you my readers to support the local cinemas not simply for the sake of just supporting the cinema operators and their employees, but also to practice your freedom of choice for entertainment on the big screen!

If you want the best value for your money when returning to the cinemas starting November 10, I would suggest watching Dune (2021) in an IMAX cinema as that movie has scenes shot with IMAX cameras. The visual spectacle captured can be fully enjoyed on an IMAX screen and there is absolutely no way such greatness will be seen via streaming. In short, if you want the best Dune viewing experience, screw HBO Go, screw HBO Max, screw the pirates and go watch the film in the local IMAX cinema. For the residents of South Metro Manila reading this, the nearest IMAX cinema is inside SM Southmall in Las Piñas City. Better start making inquiries via social media now if you really want the IMAX experience.

Whatever your choice of movie or local cinema, I suggest you check out the most updated listing of movies and schedules. The cinematic viewing experience is always better than streaming. Don’t forget to check updates from CEAP.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this latest development? Are you excited to return to the local cinema to watch movies with the big screen experience once again? Do you think the MMDA and Metro Manila mayors will make new moves to hamper the cinematic experience of moviegoers or even hamper the scheduled reopening of local cinemas? When was the last time you saw a movie inside the cinema? When was the last time you saw any movie inside the IMAX cinema?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Alert Level 3 extension on Metro Manila takes effect today

In case you missed the news, the extension of Alert Level 3 in Metro Manila takes effect today and will last until November 14, 2021. This is the result of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) recent decision which was announced this past Friday and subsequently reported by varied news organizations. Prior to the announcement, there was anticipation that the community control and restrictions on businesses and people will be eased to Alert Level 2. The local stock market saw shares drop by over a hundred points last Friday in response to the extension of Alert Level 3 for Metro Manila.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin’s news report. Some parts in boldface…

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has decided to maintain the alert level classification of the National Capital Region (NCR) to alert level 3 for the first two weeks of November.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque revealed in a virtual press conference Friday, Oct. 29 that the decision was reached during the IATF’s meeting Thursday via Resolution No. 146-A.

This came about despite high expectations from the private sector and even the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)–which touches base with the different local government units (LGUs) of the country–that the alert level in Metro Manila would be downgraded to alert level 2.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Do you think the IATF made the right decision to extend Alert Level 3 all over Metro Manila? If you own or managed a food/beverage business here in Metro Manila, was there an increase on your sales during the recent Alert Level 3?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

I Love Israel: Israel to host Filipino experts and share to them technologies and strategies to deal with COVID-19 more effectively

This past July, I blogged about the confirmation of the exchange of scientists between the Philippines and Israel which itself is related to the ongoing fight against COVID-19 and the development of ways to recover from the pandemic with regards to public health, society and the economy.

Very recently, the Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported that the State of Israel will push through with hosting Filipino experts and orient them with the ways and means on tackling COVID-19.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the very short PNA article. Some parts in boldface…

The Israeli government is looking forward to hosting a group of Filipino experts to share firsthand its strategies and technologies in effectively dealing with the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

The planned visit was revealed by Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss on Thursday during the “Dealing with Delta and other Pandemic Challenges Lessons” forum organized by the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.

Israel has innovations and quite a lot of new developments and we’d like to share (these) with the Philippines and this delegation, who we hope will visit this November. (They) would be able to see with their own eyes what are the opportunities and we’d be happy to share them,” he said.

Last July, a team of Israeli medical experts also visited Manila to share their success in the national vaccination campaign, which was followed by another group in August.

The second delegation gave their recommendations on ways to further improve systems and procedures in handling Covid-19 patients, including infection control protocols and hospital management.

Israel has been hailed for its rapid vaccination drive, successfully inoculating 70.7 percent of its population as of October 19.

It was also among the first countries to rollout booster shots after experiencing a dramatic increase in its Covid-19 cases last June and July despite the number of its fully vaccinated citizens.

Although the Delta outbreak is still not over, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett earlier said Israel is now starting to overcome this wave, giving credit to the country’s pandemic management strategies including the aggressive booster campaign and introduction of “green pass” for fully inoculated individuals to access events and facilities like cinemas, hotels, etc.

In the Thursday forum, infectious diseases and Covid-19 specialist Guy Chosen noted that booster shots have now become Israel’s “main mitigation tool” against the Delta variant.

“[W]e could continue and operate our commercial life, our cultural life, sports events, education system during the fourth Delta wave thanks to the rollout and effectiveness of the third dose, the booster campaign,” he said.

Citing a research published on medRxiv this October, Chosen said the rate of coronavirus infection and severe illness across all age groups was “substantially lower among those who received a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine.”

The above details are wonderful. Filipinos need all the help and expertise they can get from their Israeli counterparts. Take note that these past few months, things were hard for millions of residents of Metro Manila as they struggled under the decisions and tactics of the local, metropolitan and national authorities. I’m talking about the most recent enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila (favored by the Metro Manila mayors who even set terms for the national government to provide assistance) that took effect shortly after the general community quarantine (GCQ) was declared. There was also the sudden ban on outdoor exercise approved by Metro Manila’s mayors as well as the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) flip-flop that affected many in the metropolis which caused the mayor of Marikina City to react.

Since the sudden Metro Manila ECQ of August and the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) that followed, economic damage happened once again as people lost their jobs and income, and businesses struggled with the added difficulty as a result of the restrictions on capacity of customers and on their operations. Fortunately, a revision of the community quarantine and management happened using the alert levels approach which came into effect this past September.

Since October 16, 2021, the restrictions on Metro Manila were downgraded to Alert Level 3 and the result was more customers flocking to businesses which I personally witnessed in Muntinlupa City. Similar boost of economic activities, vehicular traffic and people moving around were also seen in other parts of the metropolis. As of this writing, things are looking better as the daily number of new COVID-19 infections went below 10,000 and more people got vaccinated. In recent times, the mayor of Las Piñas City stated that herd immunity is within reach based on their statistics on COVID-19 vaccination.

Going back to Israel, I am thankful to our Lord for their generosity and willingness to help the Philippines in the fight against COVID-19 as well as developing ways to recover from the effects of the pandemic. I hope that the authorities there in Israel will take a closer look at the situation of Metro Manila and examine how the top officials of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) think and act when it comes to COVID-19. These local government and metropolitan authorities can use the help of Israel on managing people, their communities better than before.

As for the Filipino scientists who will be hosted by the State of Israel, our entire nation’s health is at stake and what they will learn will be crucial. For those reading this, I urge you to support Israel-Philippines relations.

If you truly believe in Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Heavenly Father wholeheartedly and you continue to be faithful (not religious), you should be aware that Christians are meant to stand united with Israel, love the Jewish people and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. You can do your part supporting Israel by donating to Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Do not forget to read the Holy Bible, then pray in tongues to the Lord in the privacy of your room with the door shut.

Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! Always stand in support of Israel!

In ending this I Love Israel piece, posted below are Israel-related videos.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com