DOH to IATF: Make COVID-19 Safety Seal mandatory as PH relaxes restrictions

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 29 2021 02:23 PM

A Safety Seal certification is seen outside a shopping mall in Mandaluyong City, June 14, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
A Safety Seal certification is seen outside a shopping mall in Mandaluyong City, June 14, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA— The Department of Health has recommended to the government's pandemic task force making the Safety Seal mandatory in establishments as the country reopens the economy amid the decline in COVID-19 cases.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said ventilation standards in enclosed areas must be further improved to halt the risk of COVID-19 transmission as more economic sectors were allowed to reopen.

The DOH supports the call of the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 to ensure adequate ventilation in businesses, workplaces, schools and public utility vehicles.

"[The] DOH agrees with HPACC on this. Kaya po tayo ay nakapagbigay na ng rekomendasyon sa ating IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force, sa ating mga miyembrong ahensiya diyan na sana po itong 'Safety Seal' ay maging mandatory na," Vergeire said.

(...That's why we gave a recommendation to the IATF, to member agencies to make the 'Safety Seal' mandatory.)

While droplet transmission is the "major mode" of coronavirus spread from person to person, the virus lingers longer in the air in enclosed spaces, she said.

In a statement, HPACC said proper ventilation "has serious implications across transportation, workplace, and business settings."

"APAT DAPAT (Air Circulation, Physical Distance, Always Wear Mask and Shield, Time) remains to be a viable strategy but greater focus must be placed on ensuring good air quality,” the group said.

“Reopening without investing on architectural and engineering controls to improve ventilation means forcing the public to return to the same unsafe conditions that can encourage virus spread,” it added.

The Safety Seal certification is a voluntary certification scheme that affirms that an establishment is compliant with minimum public health standards set by the government and uses or integrates its contact tracing with StaySafe.ph, the Department of Trade and Industry said on its website.

The DTI issues the Safety Seal for supermarkets, groceries, convenience stores, membership shopping clubs, construction supply/hardware stores, logistics service providers, barbershops and salons, and service and repair shops.

As of Oct. 1, more than 43,000 public and private establishments in the country have been given the certification.

As of Thursday, the Philippines has recorded 2,772,491 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began last year. The tally includes 49,835 active cases while some 42,575 people have succumbed to the disease.

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