The Philippines has reached the one million mark in terms of total COVID-19 vaccines administered, according to Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr in his press briefing today, April 12, 2021.
The Palace official said that 1,007,356 were first dose and 132,228 were second dose. Among Priority Group A1 or the medical frontliners, 848,986 already received their first dose, while 116,183 had their second dose, said Secretary Roque.
“Sa ASEAN makikita ninyo po bagama’t tayo po ay medyo nahuli sa pag-a-administer ng bakuna, tayo po ngayon ang pangatlo sa pinakamaraming nabakunahan na sa ASEAN. … Ito naman po ay sa kabila ng kakulangan talaga ng mga supply eh pangatlo pa rin po tayo sa ASEAN,” said the Palace spokesperson.
Among ASEAN countries, Indonesia currently ranks first with 14.7 million vaccine doses administered, followed by Singapore at 1.7 million, and the Philippines with 1.1 million. The Philippines is followed by Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Brunei.
On another matter, Secretary Roque, who is also the concurrent spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force, presented the activities and industries that are allowed and not allowed under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), given that today is the first day of MECQ implementation in the National Capital Region and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.
Sec. Roque said that similar with Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), strict home quarantine for all households is still in effect under MECQ, and movement is still limited to obtaining essential goods and services, as well as work in permitted offices and establishments, with only those who are Authorized Persons Outside of Residence or APORs who are allowed to move in and out of areas under ECQ and MECQ.
The Cabinet official added that public transportation remains operational following guidelines issued by the Department of Transportation, and that face-to-face classes remain suspended in all levels under ECQ and MECQ. Meanwhile, individual outdoor exercises within the vicinity of one’s residence are allowed under MECQ.
For age-based restrictions, Roque said that 18 to 65 years old, including those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity, and other health risks, and pregnant women are still advised to stay at home at all times under MECQ, however local government units (LGUs) may change the age-based restriction to as low as 15 years old and as high as 65 years old for those who will be allowed to go out of their homes.
“Bawal pa rin po ang mga gatherings na sa labas ng residence under MECQ, at saka bawal pa rin yung mga gatherings outside of residence with any person outside of one’s immediate household, pero pinapayagan na po ngayon ang religious gatherings sa MECQ hanggang 10 percent venue capacities,” Roque said.
On religious gatherings, Roque added that LGUs may increase capacity up to 30 percent, and that mass gatherings are allowed for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, and funerals, with movement allowed for immediate family members to attend the wake or interment of the deceased.
Roque further said that the following remain prohibited under both ECQ and MECQ: entertainment venues with live performers, movie houses, recreational venues like internet cafes, billiard halls, amusement arcades, and bowling alleys, outdoor sports courts or venues, indoor sports courts or venues like gyms, fitness studios, spas, or indoor leisure centers or facilities, and swimming pools.
Also not allowed are casinos, horse racing, cockfighting and cockpit operations, lotteries and other betting and gaming establishments, except draws being conducted by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. Other activities/industries/services not allowed are indoor visitor or tourist attractions, libraries, archives, museums, galleries, and cultural shows and exhibits; outdoor tourist attractions; personal care services including home services; and indoor dine-in services of restaurants and other dining establishments.
In the same press briefing, Health Undersecretary and Treatment Czar Dr. Leopoldo “Bong” Vega reported that with the directive of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to settle unpaid obligation with hospitals, some private and public hospitals have agreed to provide additional beds allocated for COVID totaling to 1,042 beds. Aside from the additional bed capacities, Dr. Vega said these hospitals also agreed to increase ICU setting, with already 142 additional ICU beds as of date.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chair Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr also gave an update in the said press briefing on the additional bed and ICU capacities in hospitals run by various NCR LGUs. Chair Abalos said that the following were the additional bed capacities from the various LGUs: Quezon City General Hospital – 10 beds, Bautista Hospital – 10 beds, Novaliches District Hospital – 10 beds, Hope Community Care – 1,000 beds, Taguig with 7 beds for critical, 43 beds for quarantine facilities, and 43 beds for mild, 100 beds for Navotas, Mandaluyong committed 8 beds for ICU/critical care, and 30 beds for San Juan.
Department of Health Epidemiology Bureau Director Dr. Alethea de Guzman, meanwhile, reminded the public that the ECQ was put in place to slow down surge, stop spread of variants, buy time for the healthcare system to cope, and to protect more lives. She added that the ECQ has so far given the country’s healthcare time to increase beds, especially in ICU in hospitals, and to further improve triaging and referral systems. ### OPS-PCOO