By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
Philippines health officials reported 258 new COVID-19 cases and five deaths today, bringing the country total to 14,035 cases and 868 deaths.
Health officials also clarified this week that the Philippines continues to be in the 1st wave of community transmission in this pandemic.
The clarification comes after Secretary Francisco Duque told lawmakers on Wednesday that the first wave already occurred and that the country is already experiencing its second wave of coronavirus infections.
With the easing of quarantine restrictions in different parts of the country and reports of shoppers flocking to malls the previous week, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) today strongly reminded the public and mall operators in the country to strictly implement the official guidelines on mall operations.
DTI Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo said measures include strict monitoring of foot traffic and enforcing of physical distancing inside mall premises. Malls are also advised to limit the number of people inside the malls or shopping centers or even in individual stores by reducing the number of available customer seats in shops, reducing open entrances, creation of one-way flows inside premises, and limiting elevator access to senior citizens, persons with disabilities (PWDs), and pregnant women only who are only allowed one companion each.
Air conditioning inside malls are also to be kept at 26 degrees Centigrade and free WI-FI for mall goers is to be suspended to discourage people from staying and loitering. Marketing events and sales promos which tend to attract large crowds are also suspended. Small, in-store sales promos may be allowed provided they do not unduly attract a large gathering of shoppers inside the premises.
Lastly, malls are directed to assign a large area as the centralized pick-up location for stores with delivery or pick-up services. At all times, these areas should observe proper social distancing.
“This is the new normal and when we reopen. We need to be ready to implement the protocols that the government has set for everyone’s protection,” Castelo noted.
Polio situation remains unchanged
The total number of polio cases in the country remains at 16 as of 14 May 2020. The Philippines is affected by both cVDPV1 and cVDPV2. cVDPV is considered a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
Currently, there are 13 cases of cVDPV2, one case with cVDPV1; one case with VDPV1; and one case with immunodeficiency related VDPV type 2 (iVDPV2).
The second rounds of vaccinations were completed in Mindanao and the National Capital Region in March where about 4.5 million children under five were vaccinated.