Some areas in the country with zero transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) may transition to a “new normal” quarantine classification by February, Malacañang said on Monday.
In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved “in principle” his proposal to place some areas of the country under the “new normal” classification next month.
He said the basis to determine areas to be placed under the new normal classification will be based on scientific data, specifically case doubling rate and critical care capacity.
“Well, it will still depend on data because we follow analytics when it comes to determining quarantine classifications. But what I can say is, I have long pushed for and the IATF has approved my proposal to declare areas under the new normal – these are places with no new transmissions” he said in Filipino.
Roque said placing some areas under the new normal classification may spark hope among the public that the life can continue even if Covid-19 vaccines are yet to be available locally.
“In this case, we can have hope that there is an end to the Covid-19 pandemic even if we don’t have vaccines yet because there are places with no transmission. So that we can determine if they can return to normal,” he added.
Currently, he said the IATF is now formulizing the “dos and don’ts” in areas to be placed under the new normal classification.
He also explained that the IATF may continue to place areas under quarantine classifications until a vaccine is available and the country has reached herd immunity.
New normal, according to IATF guidelines, refers to the “emerging behaviors, situations, and minimum public health standards that will be institutionalized in common or routine practices and remain even after the pandemic while the disease is not totally eradicated through means such as widespread immunization.”
Currently, Metro Manila, the provinces of Batangas, Lanao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Isabela and cities of Iloilo, Tacloban, Iligan, and Davao are under general community quarantine (GCQ) until the end of the month.
The rest of the country remains under the least stringent modified general community quarantine. SOVEREIGNPH