MANILA – Drivers and crew of cargo and delivery trucks are not required to undergo a mandatory 14-day home quarantine if they do not show any symptoms of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), a Palace official said on Thursday.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved this guideline to allow the unhampered movement of all cargoes and ensure adequate supply of food.
“Pinapaalala po natin sa mga LGU at local health units: hindi required ang mga drayber at crew ng cargo at delivery truck na mag 14-day quarantine (We are reminding local government units and local health units: Drivers and crew of cargo and delivery tricks are not required to undergo the 14-day quarantine),” he said in a virtual presser.
He said only trucks with at least three persons onboard will be exempted from the quarantine provided they observe strict social distancing measures.
Nograles said companies should consider adding safe and humane seats or space in the vehicles for their workers.
“Kailangan pong tuloy-tuloy ang daloy ng mga kargamento, exempted po ang mga ito sa ECQ (The movement of cargoes should continue, these workers are exempted from the ECQ),” he said.
He also vowed to address reports that some supermarkets and grocery stores have depleted stocks of basic necessities following delays in the movement of cargoes.
Meanwhile, he said the implementation of stricter measures to reduce the transmission of the virus such as increasing testing capability, immediate quarantine and isolation would help the country transition to “a new normal”.
“We have to devise a way kung saan (where) we can get back to our ordinary lives para matulungan natin ang ekonomiya (so that we can help the economy). Pero kailangan may mga (But we need to have) protective measures tayong gagawin. It’s a world-wide problem but tayo as a nation, we are resilient,” he said.
He also said once the country successfully contains the virus, the government can focus on preventing the threat of a recession.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda earlier said the month-long quarantine could spare the Philippine economy from possible recession.
“Ang virus ay nagta-thrive through economic activity so kailangan talaga pigilan muna ang ating pagtakbo ng ekonomiya (The virus thrives through economic activity, so we need to temporarily halt economic activity),” he said.
He said while the month-long quarantine is expected to result in economic losses, a mass transmission would cost the economy even more.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the government is readying additional measures to further buoy the domestic economy from economic difficulties.
The entire Luzon and some areas in Visayas and Mindanao are currently placed under an enhanced community quarantine which strictly requires people to stay indoors and limit their movement to accessing basic needs.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed the “Bayanihan to Health as One Act” to realign the national budget and tap additional funds to address the national emergency. (PNA)