Galvez proposes more restrictions for passengers of public vehicles

People in Region 11, like these jeepney passengers in Davao City, can now move more freely around the region after it was placed under a modified general community quarantine. MindaNews file photo by GG BUENO

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 19 November) – Eating, talking and using of mobile phones on public transport should be prohibited to control the spread of the coronavirus disease, National Task Force Covid-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez said.

Galvez, speaking at the meeting of the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) Team in Camp Quintin Merecido of the Police Regional Office 11 on Wednesday afternoon, said this policy is currently being worked out in Metro Manila to avoid further transmission of the virus on public vehicles.

He said he will recommend a similar policy in Davao City and other areas where the number of Covid-19 cases shot up after sliding into a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Galvez lauded local leaders in the National Capital Region (NCR) after they managed to bring down the number of active cases.

“LGUs (local government units) in NCR don’t want to go to MGCQ as they are afraid of having a spike again. The NCR, right now, has around 2,700 active cases. Imagine 2,700 in the whole of Metro Manila with a 16 million [population] from 24,000 active cases, they brought it down to 2,700 cases,” he said.

He said LGUs must ensure that business establishments follow the health protocols.

He added the people, particularly those in the densely populated areas, must change their mindset over health protocols to bring down the epidemic curve.

Galvez claimed that most residents in Metro Manila are now compliant with basic health protocols like the proper wearing of face masks and face shields.

“The most important – we have already solved this in Metro Manila – are the minimum health standards,” she said.

Galvez, a former Armed Forces chief of staff, told the military and police to go to the city’s barangays to constantly remind residents to adhere to the basic health standards as the local government grappled with a surge in cases.

He said adhering to the minimum health standards, active contact-tracing, isolation and enhancement of treatment facilities are preferred over putting cities with a spike in Covid-19 cases like Davao under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or modified ECQ.

“There is no need for ECQ… we will have irreversible damage to our economy. The mindset of the people there should be changed,” he said.

As of Nov. 18, Davao City reported a total of 5,412 cases, Davao de Oro 398, Davao del Norte 877, Davao del Sur 580, Davao Occidental 111 and Davao Oriental 401.

The region has 2,325 active cases, 5,168 recoveries and 286 deaths.

Out of the 5,412 cases in Davao City, 1,828 are active, 3,347 have recovered and 237 died. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)