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Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III assured local chief executives of the Province of Rizal that the National Government, through the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), the National Task Force (NTF) and the Department of Health (DOH), is ready to assist them in ramping up the province’s COVID-19 response.
 
“​Kinakailangan po talagang comprehensive ang response natin to effectively contain the transmission and crush the cluster. If we cannot do that, the spread will continue,” Duque explained during the COVID-19 Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) meeting with Rizal’s Task Force COVID today.  
 
Secretary Duque was joined by NTF Chairperson Secretary Eduardo Año, DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Testing Czar Secretary Vivencio Dizon, and MMDA General Manager and Undersecretary Jose Arturo Garcia, Jr. Also present were Governor Rebecca Ynares and mayors from the 14 cities and municipalities of Rizal to represent the local government.
 
“​Kaya naman po kami, sampung aking mga kasamahan sa IATF, NFT ​at DOH,​ ay narito upang tumulong sa inyo, handa pong magbigay ng technical assistance on how you could further improve your response against COVID-19,” Sec. Duque emphasized. 
 
As of August 11, 2020, Rizal has 1,416 active cases; 883 of which are mild, 15 are asymptomatic, 8 are severe, and 7 are critical. Currently, the province has a 13.13-day case doubling time, and 67.85% critical utilization rate. 
 
The LGU of Rizal Province has established its own mega swabbing center in Antipolo City, which can take specimens from 1,500-2,000 patients a day. The province also has an ongoing application for accreditation for  its Antipolo City Molecular Laboratory.  
 
Sec. Duque also recommended to ensure that isolation and quarantine facilities are inplace. He shared that they have been in constant coordination with DepEd on the possible use of classrooms as temporary isolation facilities to augment the LGU’s existing 1,631-bed facility. 
 
“Mag-identify lang po ng site ang LGU, at itatayo po ng DPWH ang isolation facility ng libre,” shared Secretary Dizon. 
 
After the coordination meeting, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go launched the government’s facemask distribution campaign for the poor and vulnerable. The campaign aims to distribute 20 Million facemasks that would provide protection to beneficiaries who cannot afford to buy facemasks.
 
This is in line with the DOH’s ​BIDA Solusyon Campaign reminding the public that: ​B-​bawal walang mask, ​I- ​isanitize ang kamay, I- iwas hawak sa mga bagay, ​D -dumistansya ng isang metro, at ​A​- alamin ang tamang impormasyon. The campaign enforces that prevention is key to winning against the coronavirus, by religiously observing the minimum public health standards in protecting oneself and loved ones against the coronavirus.  
 

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