QC implements stricter health, safety protocols

August 21, 2020

STRICTER health safety protocols in workplaces in Quezon City must be implemented even during the general community quarantine (GCQ).

Under the new guidelines issued by Mayor Joy Belmonte, the companies that are allowed to operate under GCQ are mandated to enforce stricter health protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) among employees.

“Hindi tayo puwedeng maging kampante kahit ibinalik na tayo sa GCQ dahil nandiyan pa rin ang banta ng virus at kailangan pa rin ng dobleng pag-iingat,” said Belmonte.

The mayor said the employers are now required to subject their  workers to undergo regular health screenings that will be supervised by each establishment's mandatory health safety officer. They also need to immediately report any suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case to the QC Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU).

“If an employee is showing symptoms of COVID-19 or comes in close contact with a COVID-19 positive patient, then the employee should be immediately brought to the attention of the CESU,” Belmonte added.

Also, those who are mandated to immediately inform the CESU about COVID-19 positive patients are the laboratories, hospitals and disease reporting units for quick action and to avoid delays in contact tracing.

Belmonte warned that sanctions will be imposed against labs and employers who will be caught concealing vital information. Their business permits will be either suspended or revoked and criminal charges will be filed against them.

If feasible, the mayor said, the establishments should provide isolation rooms for any person  found to have symptoms while in the establishment. The establishments are prohibited from sending the patient back to the communities until CESU  has been informed.

Employees who come in close contact with suspected COVID-19 cases must undergo quarantine and self-monitor for 14 days to prevent the further spread of the virus in the workplace.

The guidelines also tasked employers to inform close contacts of their exposure to a suspect, probable, or confirmed COVID-19 case.

Belmonte added that for easier contact tracing, the employees are encouraged to have a daily diary containing names of their close contacts, both inside and outside work, start and end times of contact, places visited and start and end times of visit.

For businesses with 10 or more employees, they are mandated to have a COVID-19 response plan, detailing measures on how to comply with minimum health protocols, and assign a health officer with relevant training.

Frontline employees in all workplaces and public transportation are required to wear face shields, in addition to face masks, for added protection against the virus.

The guidelines further advised  employees to avoid mass gathering in workplaces and in other common areas to avoid COVID-19 transmission.

"If feasible, barangays are directed to put up their own quarantine facilities for isolation of confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases in coordination with the CESU," she said.

Belmonte ordered the city's regulatory agencies, its law and order cluster, barangays and the Quezon City Police District to strictly enforce the latest guidelines.