Wed. Apr 14th, 2021
(Photo Courtesy: http://www.rappler.com)

President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the imposition of the stricter general community quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila and provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal from March 22 (Monday) to April 4 (Sunday) as recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

This as new Covid-19 cases on Sunday reached 7,757, which is a bit lower compared to the 7,999 logged on Saturday. The 7,999 is the highest number of daily Covid-19 cases in the country since the virus cases were monitored one year ago.

According to the Resolution No. 144 from the IATF, placing Metro Manila and the four provinces was necessary to curb the spikes in daily Covid-19 cases.

As daily Covid-19 cases reached new highs, the Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday affirmed the national government’s commitment to provide all Filipinos equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines following the prioritization criteria and list approved by the IATF.

The agency issued a statement in response to an unofficial draft of a DOH Administrative Order that have circulated online, outlining select sections of the Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) of Republic Act 11525, or the Covid-19 Vaccination Law, being prepared.

“The development of the IRR is guided by the principles of equal respect, national equity and legitimacy, found in the WHO SAGE (World Health Organization Strategic Advisory Group of Experts) Values Framework,” the DOH stated.

“Any provisions that may be perceived to discriminate against any sector of the population from accessing Covid-19 vaccines is not considered in any policy, guideline, protocol that shall be issued by this government,” it added.

To date, the DOH and other government agencies comprising the vaccine cluster of the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 are still in the process of reconciling the proposed provisions with other existing laws and guidelines.

Stressing that the contents of the draft IRR were based on recommendations of different stakeholders, the DOH said the national government commits to honor the multiparty agreement among the DOH, NTF, vaccine manufacturers, and other procuring entities like private companies and local government units.

“All comments and recommendations from different stakeholders are still welcome until the finalization and approval of the IRR,” it added. SOVEREIGNPH

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