NGAs in CV tackle concerns of present, post-quarantine phase
CEBU, April 15 (PIA) — Heads of regional line agencies recently convened to discuss the criteria based on scientific evidence whether there is a need to seek extension of the enhanced or general community quarantine being implemented in Central Visayas.
Members of the Inter-Agency Task Group on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases – Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (IATG-MEID-RDRRMC) 7 chaired by the Department of Health (DOH-7) and Office of Civil Defense (OCD-7) as co-chair met with over 30 regional directors of national government agencies including the security sector to provide updates on the real situation of COVID-19 cases in Central Visayas.
DOH-7 Regional Director Dr. Jaime Bernadas told the IATG-MEID-RDRRMC-7 members that in the absence of community-based swabbing, one could not get a real picture on the ground as to the gravity of the situation.
Bernadas, however, assured that their agency will soon conduct massive community testing prioritizing high-risk individuals and those who have been exposed to positive COVID-19 cases.
COVID-19 cases are expected to spike following the conduct of community swabbing, warned Bernadas, adding that it is extremely crucial for the public to cooperate and stay at home, do social distancing, and wear face mask when outside to do necessary chores.
Director Efren Carreon of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-7), on the other hand, said the council could draft the criteria or parameters whether there is a need to extend or gradually lift the quarantine in Central Visayas.
“As early as now, we should plan the steps of transitioning to a post COVID environment,” said Carreon.
Bernadas said the council could agree and come up with the guidelines or criteria but the decision to extend or gradually lift the quarantine is the call of the local chief executives.
Carreon said the guidelines or criteria can be given to the local government units for their review and serve as a basis to guide them to decide wisely after the enhanced or general community quarantine has ended.
For his part, Bernadas said “the medical society is seeking an extension of two more weeks to get evidence on the distribution of COVID-19 cases,” which could serve as a scientific basis to recommend for quarantine extension or gradual lifting.
Council members agreed that planning is critical for the next chapter of the war against COVID-19 especially the need to propose for inter-agency collaboration to address economic and political problems that would ensue during the response period of the pandemic.
The inputs of the members will be collated and closely reviewed before coming up with the final council resolution that will be submitted to local chief executives before the deadline of the quarantine period. (fcr/PIA7)