Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

The Philippine government wants to issue an order enabling village officials to go “house-to-house” and record the vaccination status of all residents, as it extends mobility restrictions until the end of January due to a new boom in COVID – 19 cases.

The move comes after President Rodrigo Duterte’s warning last week that he would ordered the arrest of those not vaccinated to limit the spread of the disease.

Interior Minister Eduardo Ano is expected to sign the new order and create a “complete inventory” of the vaccination status of each of the 42,046 towns across the country, his deputy Epimaco Densing said on Friday.

“A lot of the officials will have to go house-to-house and do the survey or inventory,” Densing told the CNN Philippines news channel.

“Once the individuals, specifically the unvaccinated, are identified, they will be monitored for purposes whether they will leave their home to obtain essential goods and services or not.”

Residents who have not been vaccinated, who leave their homes for “non-essential purposes”, can be punished, he said.

“According to the Revised Penal Code, if you do not follow a person in authority or follow a valid order from a higher authority – in this case, the president – they will not be arrested because they were not vaccinated, but because they did not follow instructions. or instructions from a person in authority. ”

Since the pandemic began, the Philippines has implemented restrictive orders that have been questioned by legal groups and legal experts.

In 2020, Duterte threatened to “shoot” violators of COVID-19 restrictions..

The country on Thursday recorded a new daily record of 34,021 cases and a positivity rate of 47.9 percent.

The number of active cases has also reached a new high of 237,387 since the pandemic began. Nearly 53,000 have died in the country due to the coronavirus.

Health officials said the latest increase in cases is driven by the Omicron variant, but added that the Delta variant is still in circulation and also causes many infections.

On Friday, the spokesperson for the health department said that their data showed that the peak in the latest boom is likely to take place “by the end of January even as late as the second week of February”.

Restrictions on mobility continue

Following the continuing increase in business, the government announced on Friday that it will extend the restrictions on mobility in Metro Manila and several cities and provinces across the country until January 31st.

Face-to-face classes, contact sports and the opening of theaters and concert halls will still be banned under the order.

Amusement parks, dining services and fitness facilities will be allowed for vaccinated individuals at 30 percent capacity indoors and 50 percent outdoors.

In recent days, the Philippine government has also ordered it unvaccinated passengers are prohibited from taking public transport A move that is considered a violation of the rights of the Philippines.

With the new vaccine “inventory” being implemented, there is more concern about violating people’s privacy.

Human rights lawyer and senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares said the new order was “another waste of time and resources” of the government.

“The focus should be on contact tracing, not on finding out who has been vaccinated or not,” he wrote on Twitter.

But Densing, the senior Interior Ministry official, defended the new order, saying it was a “reasonable restriction” to protect everyone, especially the unvaccinated, from COVID-19.

Last year, Densing angered human rights advocates after proposing that health workers go “house-to-house” and test everyone for possible COVID-19 symptoms.

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