Palace says gov't must maintain at least 20 pct on-site staff during Metro Manila lockdown


Posted at Aug 04 2021 11:14 AM

Clouds hover over Metro Manila, seen from Antipolo, Rizal, on July 29, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File
Clouds hover over Metro Manila, seen from Antipolo, Rizal, on July 29, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — Government agencies must maintain a workforce of at least 20 percent of their on-site capacity when Metro Manila returns to a 2-week lockdown later this week, according to a memo that Malacañang made public on Wednesday. 

Home to some 13 million people, the National Capital Region will shift to the strictest of 4 lockdown levels, the enhanced community quarantine, from Aug. 6 to 20. 

"There is a need to ensure the continuous delivery of public services during the ECQ period in NCR," Malacañang said in Memorandum Circular 87. 

It said heads of government agencies and government corporations shall determine the size of the skeleton workforce that "shall not be less than 20% on-site capacity at any given time, with the remainder being under work-from-home arrangements."

"Nonetheless,, agencies providing health and emergency frontline services, laboratory and testing services, border control, and other critical services shall be allowed up to full on-site capacity," added Malacañang. 

The legislative and judicial government branches, independent constitutional commissions, and local governments in Metro Manila "are strongly urged to adopt the provisions of this Circular," it said. 

Confirmed infections in the Philippines exceeded 8,000 a day from Friday to Monday. Sunday's recorded cases of 8,735 were the highest since May 28. 

On Tuesday, the health department confirmed another 6,879 coronavirus infections, pushing the total COVID-19 cases to 1,612,541. 

Some 9.3 million individuals have been fully vaccinated as of Aug. 2, and around 11.8 million have received one dose, Malacañang said. The government aims to inoculate 58 to 70 million in the country to achieve herd immunity.

A surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Delta variant has been rattling parts of Asia, including countries which had been relatively successful at containing the virus.

Just 200 cases of the Delta variant had been detected in Philippine communities, of which 17 were still active, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said, although genome testing capacity in the Southeast Asian country is limited.

Strict quarantine curbs could help cap the number of active COVID-19 cases to around 25,000 by the end of September, Palace spokesman Harry Roque earlier said. 

— With a report from Reuters 

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