IATF approves DOH recommendations for Covid health protocols

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The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the recommendations of the Department of Health (DOH) on the enforcement and implementation of the minimum public health standards (MPHS) in view of the recent spikes in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases nationwide.

Presidential Spokesperson and concurrent spokesperson of the IATF Secretary Harry Roque presented the DOH recommendations in a press briefing that was held in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte on March 12, 2021.

The recommendations include specific actions or suggestions for individuals, establishments, and local government units (LGUs) on the strict adherence to the MPHS.

According to the spokesperson, recommendations for individuals include the proper wearing of face masks and face shields, increasing the frequency of handwashing, and ensuring adherence to social distancing. The recommendation also includes continuous giving of correct information on Covid-19.

On the part of establishments, it is recommended that risk mitigation strategies like engineering controls, ventilation, and contact tracing be implemented, as well as measuring standards and establishing baselines.

“The LGUs must impose the Covid-19 Coordinated Operations to Defeat Pandemic or CODE through the strengthened mobilization of the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams,” Roque said.

Also included in the recommendation for LGUs is to actively look for ensure that all suspect cases undergo RT-PCR testing and be isolated within 24 hours, and that all close contacts should be traced and quarantined within the next 24 hours. Close contacts with symptoms will be isolated in a facility within 24 hours and will be tested using RT-PCR. Contact tracing is recommended to begin even among suspect cases.

Lastly, the recommendations state that the proper handover to the LGUs of returning overseas Filipinos and other incoming international travelers should be ensured to make sure that there is compliance to and completion of quarantine or isolation.

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