Palace orders gov't offices in GCQ areas to operate at 30-50 pct capacity

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2021 06:43 PM

Palace orders gov't offices in GCQ areas to operate at 30-50 pct capacity 1
A Manila Health Department staff member sprays disinfectant at the Commission On Elections registration offices in Manila on Feb. 15, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Malacañang on Friday ordered offices of the executive branch to limit their operating capacity from between 30 and 50 percent in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) until early April, as the country battles a surge in coronavirus infections. 

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said "all government agencies and instrumentalities of the executive branch, including government-owned and controlled corporations" in GCQ areas should observe the 30 to 50 percent operational capacity from March 22 to April 4. 

These government offices should follow this operating range "unless a higher capacity is required in agencies providing health and emergency frontline services, border control, and other critical services," Medialdea said in a memorandum circular. 

"Operational capacity refers to the number of employees or workers who are permitted or required to physically report to work in the premises of a particular agency of government, expressed as a percentage of the total workforce in such agency," read the document.

The Palace lowered the operational capacity of offices in GCQ areas "during these critical times to address the current surge in COVID-19 cases, while ensuring the continuous delivery of public services," said Medialdea. 

He said heads of agencies that are considering a temporary closure of their premises must request clearance from President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Philippines on Friday tallied 7,103 new coronavirus cases on Friday, a record daily increase in infections. This pushed the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 648,066. 

The latest outbreak, which includes the more transmissible variants, is again concentrated in congested Metro Manila, home to 12 million people. 

The coronavirus task force on Friday suspended the operation of some businesses and reduced the number allowed in religious gatherings and conferences in GCQ areas.

The new wave of cases in the Philippines, which has the second highest number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in Southeast Asia, is threatening hopes of a strong economic rebound after a record contraction last year and the loss of millions of jobs.

The Philippines launched its inoculation drive on March 1 and has received delivery of some 1.1 million donated doses of Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines.

The government plans to inoculate 70 million adults in a bid to achieve herd immunity this year. 

— With a report from Reuters

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