ECQ to GCQ: Getting Ready for the New Normal (Part 1)
May 6, 2020
It has been almost two months that Metropolitan Manila and adjacent provinces were declared under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) because of the rising numbers of community transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Now, after two extensions of lockdown policies and enforcing everyone to stay at home, the people are now facing another kind of struggle as the general community quarantine (GCQ) is now introduced. The GCQ seems to be another form of ECQ with the fact that people can go out and certain policies are relaxed, but the precautions against the transmission of the COVID-19 are still up.
To help everybody, this station will provide some information about the upcoming implementation of the GCQ here in Manila. To date, some provinces across the country are already under the GCQ but others, such as Metropolitan Manila, are extended until the 15th of May.
The Omnibus Public Transport Protocol and Guidelines given by the Department of Transportation was divided into four sectoral schemes: the aviation, maritime, road and rail.
READ: OMNIBUS PUBLIC TRANSPORT PROTOCOLS / GUIDELINES set by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the…
For this article, we will give emphasis on aviation and maritime.
With regards to the airport protocols, the DOTr made it clear that there are certain flights that are allowed to operate during the GCQ such as government ang military flights, international flights subjected to IATF protocols, air ambulance and medical supplies, flight check and weather mitigation flights, maintenance and utility flights, emergency flights and domestic flights under areas of GCQ which are subjected to clearances and approvals.
Summary of the IATF/DOTr Guidelines for the Aviation transport sector in areas under the General Community Quarantine…
Certain limitations in several airports will be implemented. Only those with valid travel documents shall be allowed inside airports. All individuals are required to wear face masks or other protective equipment (PPEs) whenever inside the premises of terminals. Physical distancing will always be observed inside airport premises.
Mandatory checking of body temperature will be done upon entrance of terminals. “No contact” security procedures will be executed but not the required passing through of x-ray machines, scanners, metal detectors and other security measures.
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Airport terminals will be equipped disinfecting facilities, with alcohols and handwashing soaps. Foot baths will be placed at all entry and exit points of terminals. All facilities and equipment such as lavatories, frequently touched surfaces, wheelchairs, trolleys, countertops, and the like will be disinfected regularly.
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Authentic and real-time information dissemination is important that’s why posters having safety precautions and health guidelines will be displayed in prominent areas of terminals. On the other hand, all departing and arriving passengers are required to fill-out Health Declaration and Passenger Locator Forms.
Most importantly, COVID-19 Rapid Testing facilities shall be available in terminals to be managed by professional healthcare providers.
Airline operations are similarly battered by the effects of COVID-19 pandemic across the globe. As part of the continuous battle against the transmission, airlines are tasked by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) to observe international standards of social distancing inside aircrafts.
Digital enablers and communication are to be maximized in order to make procedures easy for all passengers. Passengers are encouraged to use e-boarding passes.
Numerous airline procedures for all departing and arriving passengers are well-grounded to all cabin crews such as handling of suspected carriers of the virus, pre-boarding screening and other airport protocols.
READ: Summary of the IATF/DOTr Guidelines for the Maritime transport sector in areas under General Community Quarantine…
As transport scheme was directly affected by the pandemic, so as the maritime industry.
Just like airports, physical distancing measures will be strictly observed within ports, terminals as well as ships and passenger vessels.
Sanitary measures will be enforced such as disinfecting facilities, footbaths, handwashing stations at all entrance and exit points of ports, ships, and other passenger vessels. All staff, employees and passengers are mandated to wear face masks and any other PPEs.
Information dissemination about hygiene and sanitary practices will be imparted to passengers through public address systems, TV screens and printed materials to be situated in strategic locations.
For transparency, precaution and easy contact tracing, all passengers must accomplish health protocol forms. Body temperature check is required to all individuals entering ports and embarking ships.
Department of Health (DOH) and Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) against COVID-19 suggest that passenger capacity in ships and vessels shall be reduced to 50%.
For the aviation and maritime transportation, this will be the least that people can do. More adjustments are underway depending upon the situation of the pandemic.
Stay safe and sound!
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