The government will be implementing additional measures to prevent overcrowding in marketplaces, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) said on Sunday.
Cabinet Secretary and IATF spokesperson Karlo Nograles made this statement following reports that some public markets, particularly in the Balintawak market in Quezon City, ignored social distancing measures.
“Para maiwasan natin ang the same thing from happening, is kailangan lagyan natin ng sistema (So that we can avoid the same thing from happening, we have to put in place a system),” he said in a virtual presser.
He said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will be coordinating with local government units (LGUs) to ensure that these preventive measures against Covid-19 would be strictly followed.
Among the recommendations is a “one entry, one exit” scheme to control the number of persons allowed inside the marketplace.
“Tulad pag bumili ka sa supermarket or sa convenience store or sa drugstore, one entry, one exit lang ‘yan e so madali mong tantiyahin ilan ang puwede pumasok (Just like when buying in the supermarket or convenience store or drugstore, they observe one entry, one exit so it’s easy to estimate how many are allowed inside),” he said.
He said the IATF is also eyeing the deployment of joint social distancing teams to ensure that this preventive measure is observed during the enhanced community quarantine placed over Luzon.
“So, it will be a joint team made up of AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), PNP (Philippine National Police) with the assistance ng ating mga (of our) LGUs,” he said.
On Saturday, the Quezon City government stopped retail selling in Balintawak markets after large crowds where seen in the area.
However, it allowed wholesale selling and drop-off of products to ensure the supply of vegetables and other farm products in various parts of Metro Manila.
Quezon City officials met with the owners of the Cloverleaf, North Diversion, Riverview I, Riverview II, Pilson’s, MC, and Edsa Bagsakan markets and all parties agreed that retail sales would no longer be allowed in these markets.
Since retail stalls will no longer be permitted, vendors can use the city’s jeepneys to sell their produce to different barangays through the “QC Fresh Market on Wheels” project.
The whole of Luzon is currently under enhanced community quarantine until April 30 to minimize the risk of catching and spreading the highly-infectious disease.
In Quezon City, at least 12 barangays are under “extreme enhanced community quarantine” with at least three confirmed Covid-19 cases.
Quezon City, which so far has the largest number of Covid-19 cases among local government units, is also set to begin community-based testing this week
As of Saturday, Quezon City reported a total of 764 confirmed Covid-19 cases, 60 fatalities, and 45 recoveries. (PNA)