The Inter-Agency Task Force has made amendments to its guidelines to be observed in areas placed under Alert Level 1 following the approval of placing the National Capital Region and 38 other areas under that level starting March 1 to 15, 2022.
Here’s what you should know:
At workplaces, schools, and establishments
All private offices and workplaces may now operate at 100% capacity but may continue to allow flexible and work-from-home arrangements. For government agencies, off-site work must comply with the relevant rules and regulations issued by the Civil Service Commission and the Office of the President.
Individuals aged 18-years-old and above must still present proof of full vaccination status before participating in mass gatherings or entering indoor establishments such as churches, restaurants, salons, spas, fitness studios and gyms, cinemas, concert venues, meeting venues, etc. Those aged 17-years-old and below don’t need to show proof of vaccination.
Meanwhile, face-to-face classes for primary education shall be subject to prior approval of the Office of the President.
Public transportation may be at full seating capacity. For those traveling from an area placed under Alert Level 1 to another area with a higher alert level classification via public land transport, passenger capacity must be whichever has the lower passenger capacity rate. Otherwise, for aviation, maritime, and rail public transport going in and out of an Alert Level 1 area can accommodate full seating.
Acrylic or plastic dividers in public transportation as well as the Safe, Swift and Smart Passage (S-PaSS) application for interzonal travel are no longer required.
Use of health declaration forms are no longer required. Digital contact tracing via the StaySafe.PH app is also optional.
Testing and Quarantine
The IATF states that testing protocols shall be implemented consistent with national guidelines for those who remain unvaccinated or have high exposure risk. RT-PCR testing will be prioritized for senior citizens, persons with comorbidities, and healthcare workers. RT-PCR testing will be optional for those outside of these priority groups.
Asymptomatic close contacts don’t need to undergo testing unless symptoms develop. In such cases, Antigen testing is recommended. Asymptomatic cases should also keep in mind to isolate right away. If they still want to take a test, it should be done at least 5 days from last exposure.
The Hospital Infection Prevention and Control Committees (HIPCC) may implement testing protocols in health facilities for health workers and patients based on their assessment of risk and benefit.
Meanwhile, establishments under Alert Level 1 are no longer required to set-up isolation facilities within the workplace.
Updated quarantine protocols for incoming international travelers shall be consistent with IATF Resolution No. 160 A/B, and updated isolation and quarantine protocols for general public and healthcare workers and authorized sectors shall be consistent with DOH Dept Memo No. 2022-0013.
Close contacts, asymptomatic cases, and mild to moderate confirmed cases should be managed at a primary care level, namely through health centers, private clinics, and teleconsultation. Severe and critical cases must be managed at an appropriate health care facility.
In the case of reintegration, isolation can be discontinued upon completion of the recommended isolation period, provided that they do not have fever for at least 24 hours without the use of any antipyretic medications, and shall have improvement of respiratory signs and symptoms.
For those who’d like to claim a sick leave, health benefits, or other relevant processes where proof of a COVID-19 diagnosis is needed, a medical certificate may suffice. It should include the patient’s name, severity of symptoms, diagnosis as probable or confirmed COVID-19, and date of end of quarantine and/or isolation period.
The IATF is also reminding everyone that well-fitted face masks must still be worn properly at all times whether outdoors or indoors.
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