MANILA – Some areas in the country with zero transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) may transition to a “new normal” quarantine classification by February, Malacañang said on Monday.
In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved “in principle” his proposal to place some areas of the country under the “new normal” classification next month.
He said the basis to determine areas to be placed under the new normal classification will be based on scientific data, specifically case doubling rate and critical care capacity.
“Well, depende po talaga ‘yan sa datos kasi analytics po ang ating sinusunod pagdating sa quarantine classification. Pero sasabihin ko po sa inyo, matagal ko nang sinanguni at inaprubahan naman po ng IATF na magkaroon na tayo ng deklarasyon ng mga new normal — eto yung mga lugar na talagang matagal nang panahon e wala nang mga bagong transmission (it will still depend on data because we follow analytics when it comes to determining quarantine classifications. But what I can say is, I have long pushed for and the IATF has approved my proposal to declare areas under the new normal — these are places with no new transmissions)” he said.
Roque said placing some areas under the new normal classification may spark hope among the public that the life can continue even if Covid-19 vaccines are yet to be available locally.
“Sa gayon po, magkaroon tayo ng pag-asa na talagang may katapusan din itong Covid-19 pandemic na ito dahil although wala pang bakuna e may mga lugar na na walang transmission at meron po talagang mga lugar na ganyan. Para matingnan natin kung pupuwede na rin silang bumalik kahit na papaano dun sa mga normal na panahon (In this case, we can have hope that there is an end to the Covid-19 pandemic even if we don’t have vaccines yet because there are places with no transmission. So that we can determine if they can return to normal),” he added.
Currently, he said the IATF is now formulizing the “dos and don’ts” in areas to be placed under the new normal classification.
“Ang binubuo lang po ngayon yung mga dos and don’ts sa new normal kasi baka naman magkaroon ng new normal, bigla silang magkaroon ng rock concert. E yun pong lilinawin natin, yung mga dos and don’t in new normal areas (What they are crafting now are the dos and don’ts under the new normal because once we transition to a new normal, some might start to hold rock concerts. That’s what we need to clarify, the dos and don’ts),” he said.
He also explained that the IATF-EID may continue to place areas under quarantine classifications until a vaccine is available and the country has reached herd immunity.
“Pero ang tingin ko po, hindi po mawawalan ng saysay ang hurisdiksyon ng IATF hanggang wala pa po talagang herd immunity na tinatawag (But I don’t think the IATF will lose jurisdiction unless we have reached what you call herd immunity),” he said.
New normal, according to IATF guidelines, refers to the “emerging behaviors, situations, and minimum public health standards that will be institutionalized in common or routine practices and remain even after the pandemic while the disease is not totally eradicated through means such as widespread immunization.”
“These include actions that will become second nature to the general public as well as policies such as bans on large gatherings that will continue to remain in force,” the guidelines read.
Currently, Metro Manila, the provinces of Batangas, Lanao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Isabela and cities of Iloilo, Tacloban, Iligan, and Davao are under general community quarantine (GCQ) until the end of the month.
The rest of the country remains under the least stringent modified general community quarantine. (PNA)