‘Bayanihan law can help govt contain COVID-19 pandemic’

The government on Wednesday said it is confident it would be able to contain within the next two weeks the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) now that is has more resources at its disposal.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the “timely” passage of the Republic Act (RA) No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Law during the crucial period will allow them to minimize possible casualties from Covid-19.

He said law allow them to access additional funding and streamlined process for procuring much needed personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing kits for Covid-19.

RA 11469 was signed into law by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on March 25, 2020 and will take effect immediately after being published.

National action plan

Nograles said the National Action Plan (NAP) for Covid-19,” which was already approved in principle” by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), will further speed up the implementation of Covid-19 policies in the grassroots level.

Under the NAP, the IATF will farm out its policies to other government offices, which will handle two separate aspect of the government’s Covid programs: resources and response.

“Hopefully with the law passed and the new setup now and then following the national action plan then we could move faster. We could double up our efforts even more. We could get more people and mobilize more forces,” Nograles said.

Interior Secretary Eduardo M. Año said he is confident these developments coupled with the continuous implementation of strict social distancing will help achieve their goal of containing the spread of Covid-19 at least in Luzon before the end of its enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) on April 13.

Contained cases

Before the end of the ECQ, the government hopes to have no new confirmed cases of Covid-19 and to identify more areas which are free from the pandemic illness.

“Basically what we would want to really to happen is the virus will no longer be able to spread,” Nograles said.

Año said achieving these target in next two weeks will be crucial in their determination if ECQ in Luzoben will extended or even expanded to the entire Visayas and Mindanao.

As of now, he said the IATF sees no need for the expanding the ECQ.

Despite the declaration of the ECQ last week, local confirmed cases of Covid-19 continued to soar.

As of March 25, the Department of Health (DOH) said there were already 636 cases of the disease in the country.

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