Gyms reopen; more allowed in restos, personal care shops
The government has allowed the reopening of gyms and fitness studios and also increased the indoor capacities of restaurants, personal care service shops and religious services, even as it kept Metro Manila under alert level 4 up to Oct. 15
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) had approved the expansion by 10 percent of the allowable indoor capacities of dine-in restaurants, religious services and personal care services in areas under alert level 4.
However, both the clients and staff of these business establishments, as well as people attending religious gatherings, must be fully vaccinated and observe minimum health protocols.
Gyms and fitness studios may now operate at 20-percent capacity.
Establishments that have been awarded the safety seal certification are allowed to add another 10 percent to its prescribed venue capacity.
The community quarantine classifications for October were also finalized. Placed under modified enhanced community quarantine from Oct. 1 to Oct. 15 are 11 cities and provinces, including Cavite, Bataan and Batanes.
Under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions from Oct. 1 to Oct. 31 are 25 cities and provinces, including Baguio City, Batangas, Davao del Norte and Davao Occidental. Davao de Oro will also be under GCQ with heightened restrictions, but only from Oct. 1 to Oct. 15.
Under GCQ from Oct. 1 to Oct. 31 are 11 cities and provinces in Luzon; nine in Visayas, and 18 in Mindanao.
The rest of the Philippines will be under modified general community quarantine.
The IATF also issued its updated list of countries/jurisdictions/territories belonging to the red, yellow and green lists for Oct. 1 to Oct. 15. Bermuda is the only one in the red list, while 49 are in the green list, including New Zealand and China.
All others not in the two lists fall under the yellow classification.
Vaccination of minors
Green list nations and jurisdictions are deemed “low risk,” while red nations are “high risk.” The others fall under the yellow risk, or with moderate risk based on COVID-19 incidence rate and case count.
The IATF also approved the pilot rollout of the vaccination program for children age 12 to 17 years old, with vaccines that were granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration. It will be implemented starting Oct. 15 under a “phased approach” as may be determined by the National Vaccination Operations Center.
It also affirmed the opening of the national vaccination program to the general population nationwide.
Shorter quarantine for travelers
Also, the government pandemic task force is finalizing plans to shorten the mandatory quarantine requirement for arriving international travelers who are fully vaccinated to five to seven days, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said.
In a public address, President Duterte called for the shortening of the 14-day quarantine period for people arriving from overseas to seven days, saying this would be enough time for the virus to manifest if it was present in an individual.
Under current rules, only fully vaccinated travelers coming from “green” countries get a shorter seven-day quarantine requirement upon arrival. For other travelers, the quarantine period is 14 days, 10 of which must be in a facility and the remaining four at home or in the traveler’s final destination.
DOH case update The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said it had recorded 15,566 new COVID-19 infections in the country, pushing the total number of cases to 2,565,487.
In its daily case bulletin, the DOH said there were 130,268 active cases, or currently sick patients. Of these, the majority or 77.9 percent are mild cases, while 15 percent are asymptomatic, 0.9 percent are in critical condition, 2.1 percent are severe cases, and 3.97 percent are moderate cases.
The positivity rate continues to go down, with 21.3 percent or about one in five of the 63,850 tested on Wednesday turning out positive for the virus. However, the positivity rate is still way above the World Health Organization’s recommendation that positivity rate be kept at 5 percent or below to ensure that transmission is contained.
The DOH said another 23,483 patients have recovered from the respiratory illness, pushing the total number of survivors to 2,396,726.
However, 199 more individuals have succumbed to the disease, bringing the death toll to 38,493. —With a report from Patricia Denise M. Chiu
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