The Department of Health (DOH) has announced that the government targets the removal of community quarantine in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic by the third quarter of 2021.
This is the reaction of Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire to the statement made by National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Karl Chua, who expects quarantine protocols to remain until 2021.
According to Vergeire, the key to faster quarantine removal is strengthening local governments to prevent the spread of the virus such as good surveillance, contact tracing, quarantine facilities, and COVID testing.
Currently, some cities and provinces have modified modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) and general community quarantine (GCQ).
“Nothing is certain at this point, we carefully study everything that may happen. The milestone that the government is looking at, by the second quarter of next year, all LGUs (local government units), we must be MGCQ, ”said Vergeire.
“Once we have developed your gatekeeping components then your health system capacity is at low risk, maybe by second quarter next year we can shift to MGCQ and hopefully, as months progress after the second quarter, all of us can shift to new normal,” he added.
MGCQ has the simplest quarantine status that allows people aged 15 to 65 to leave the house and allow 50% operation of movie screenings, concerts, sporting events and other entertainment activities, religious services, and work conferences.
However, Vergeire reminded that the public should not be complacent when there is a COVID-19 vaccine by 2021.
“We cannot be complacent. The implementation of minimum health standards must continue, ”he said