MANILA, June 20 (Mabuhay)– The government sought a second phase of operation concepts and plans to boost its battle against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic in the country, the chief implementer of the National Action Plan (NAP) on Covid-19 said on Friday.

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., also a presidential peace adviser, said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) will continue to assess the Covid-19 situation in Cebu, National Capital Region (NCR), Calabarzon, Central Luzon, and Eastern Visayas.

“We will also assess the National Action Plan and prepare the second phase of our concept of operations for July, August, and September to address the resurgence of Covid-19 contamination in Cebu and other critical areas,” Galvez said in a virtual presser.

During the assessment, he said, the task force will invite various analysts from the University of the Philippines (UP), who recommended for the “second look of the current and future plans” of the government to curb the spread of the Covid-19.

“Umasa po kayo sa pamumuno ng ating mahal na Presidente at pamunuan ng IATF at ng NTF na gagawin po namin ang lahat (With the leadership of our President, IATF and national task force on Covid-19, we will do everything)—so we can save more lives, and revive and rehabilitate our economy,” he said.

Covid-19 cases in Cebu

Meanwhile, Galvez noted that new Covid-19 cases in Cebu City continue to spike—beating the number of positive cases in NCR.

There is also a growing number of admission of those patients with critical Covid-19 cases in various hospitals in Cebu, more deaths are being recorded and private hospitals are nearly full, Galvez said.

He said the task force deployed a surveillance team from the Department of Health (DOH) main office to closely monitor the situation in Cebu City.

“Nagdagdag na ng personnel ang ating DOH Region VII, ito po ay kinabilangan ng mga nursing staff sa mga pangunahing hospital sa Cebu (The DOH Region VII already added personnel, which include nursing staff for primary hospitals in Cebu),” he said.

Aside from additional staff, around 20 sets of high-flow nasal cannula non-invasive ventilators, 42,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) and, 16,000 face masks were sent to various hospitals in Cebu City.

Galvez also lauded San Miguel Corp. president Ramon Ang for donating the ventilators that were recently sent to Cebu.

“Nagpayo rin po kami na gamitin yung mga quarantine facilities para totally ma-isolate ang mga Covid-19 cases (We already recommended using the quarantine facilities to completely isolate the Covid-19 cases),” he said.

“We also advised our LGUs and security forces to strictly enforce quarantine protocols and movement restrictions to imbibe the importance of social distancing, public health safety, and hygiene,” he said.

Galvez urged Cebu residents to cooperate with the government’s preventive measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the region.

Covid-19 tests, kits, and labs

Galvez said the government has already procured 239,857 reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test kits, which can approximately test 8,544,282 people.

“Having all these test kits, we will now be able to test 9,838,032 in total,” he said.

Galvez noted that the country has already had 62 accredited testing laboratories, which composed of 46 RT-PCR laboratories and 16 GeneXpert laboratories, nationwide.

The 27 testing laboratories are located in NCR, 17 are in Southern and Northern Luzon, seven of these are in the Visayas, while nine of these are located in Mindanao.

The task force has recorded a total of 15,000 actual tests which were done on June 16, he said, this is the highest so far.

“We are looking forward to increasing this dramatically once our supply will be solved by next week,” he said, adding that about 156 laboratories are lined up for accreditation and waiting only for a license to operate.

He added that all 17 regions have at least one Covid-19 testing laboratory except for Caraga.

“Minamadali na po natin ang accreditation ng kanilang tatlong laboratories (We are fast-tracking the accreditation of three laboratories in there),” he said.

While the country is increasing its testing capacity, Galvez said, it is also strengthening the contact tracing at the same time.

Assisting OFWs, LSIs

Galvez also noted the task force is working on a shorter quarantine process for the returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)—the isolation period for them in Metro Manila will be limited to five days.

He said around 2, 272 OFWs were assisted to return to their respective provinces from last week.

About 54,260 OFWs and seafarers have been assisted since the Hatid Probinsya program has started, he added.

The government expects to assist an additional 42,000 OFWs for the next few months, he said.

Around 30,495 LSIs have already been assisted to return to their provinces, he said.

Galvez then encouraged the public to cooperate with the government in flattening the curb for Covid-19. (MNS)

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