NTF formulates framework to ensure business continuity

CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Pampanga — National Task Force against COVID-19 (NTF) formulated operational framework for workplaces to ensure business continuity amidst the pandemic.

During the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) Team Visit in Region 3, Health Assistant Secretary Maria Francia Laxamana said this framework is very crucial especially since Central Luzon has a lot of industries and economic zones. 

“Like in local government units, our goal is to put the Prevent Detect Isolate Treat Reintegrate and the zoning containment strategies in the aspect of the workplace,” Laxamana said. 

While there are already existing policies both in the public and private workplaces, the assistant secretary said that the goal is really to create and establish one single operational framework for the entire workplace. 

“Under the said framework, we want to balance health and economy through a localized response.  Since the NTF cannot do it alone, there should always be the participation of the community and other stakeholders. We want to establish and sustain strong private public partnership to synchronize all our efforts and help businesses, especially the micro and small enterprises to recover,” she said. 

Laxamana added that coordination with the local chief executives is crucial to be able to sustain gains and best practices. 

Primarily, she said that businesses must build workplace systems and capacities.

“Workplaces must be able to establish risk reduction management system and train workforce on health human resource. As part of the response, companies are also encouraged to form their own CODE teams and occupational health and safety committee,” Laxamana said. 

She said companies must be very mindful and stick to the minimum health standards to ensure the safety of their workforce. This can be done, she said by providing safe workplace area, safe transportation, safe dining, and safe accommodation to the employees; as well as frequent disinfection of workplaces. 

In her presentation, the official also discussed about the different algorithms to be implemented from testing, case management for positive workers, contact tracing, quarantine and isolation, as well as the lockdown of premises. 

“Our businesses should have their own clinics or referral hospitals. All companies should have quarantine and isolation facility as long as they are well monitored by their clinics or nearby hospital,” she said. 

Upon recovery or completion of quarantine, Laxamana said that employees need to have psychosocial support in order to be reintegrated back to work, while continuously adhering to the minimum health standards.

DOH recommends that healthcare workers be tested weekly; quarterly for frontline and economic priority workers and those with high interaction and exposure to public including those who belong to the transport and logistics, food retail, education, non-food retail, services, market vendors, media, and garbage collectors. Meanwhile, all employees in the hospitality and tourism sector must be tested  every four weeks.  

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