DOH says policy barring face-to-face classes stays as COVID-19 infections remain

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 02 2020 01:14 PM

MANILA — The Department of Health on Wednesday said it is still not recommending the resumption of face-to-face classes in schools in the country as almost all areas still have active COVID-19 cases.

This, amid calls for limited physical classes in certain programs, primary those on health care. 

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III previously said that face-to-face classes may resume in areas with zero COVID-19 cases. But during a DOH briefing on Wednesday, he said that key areas continue to report new COVID-19 cases. 

“Sa hanay nga mga probinsya and highly urbanized cities and independent component cities, halos wala nang lugar na zero cases for the last 2 to 4 weeks,” the health chief said.

(In terms of provinces, and highly urbanized cities and independent component cities, almost none of them have zero cases for the last 2 to 4 weeks.)

“Lahat 'yan meron except for Batanes. Batanes lang ang nakapagtala ng zero COVID cases for the last 2 to 4 weeks,” he said. 

(All of them recorded cases except for Batanes. Batanes is the only place that recorded zero COVID cases for the last 2 to 4 weeks.)

“'Yung atin pong policy sa ngayon ay patuloy na no face-to-face classes,” he emphasized, saying this is President Rodrigo Duterte's directive.

(Our policy right now is to continue to have no face-to-face classes.)

He said if the President decides to allow face-to-face classes, government must craft guidelines. 

For one, he said, physical classes may only be held in areas with minimal risk of COVID-19 and health facilities in these areas must have enough capacity to deal with new infections, especially patients who might need critical care.

The northern province of Batanes recorded its first COVID-19 case in September but there are no more active cases.

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