Pateros to place yellow ribbons on houses with COVID-19 cases

Ghio Ong - The Philippine Star
Pateros to place yellow ribbons on houses with COVID-19 cases
The yellow ribbon will be tied or placed by officials of the barangay where a house under granular lockdown is located, according to Pateros Mayor Miguel Ponce III.
Philstar.com / File

MANILA, Philippines — Yellow ribbons will be used to tag households in Pateros confirmed to have COVID-19 patients and placed under localized lockdown, the town’s mayor said.

The yellow ribbon will be tied or placed by officials of the barangay where a house under granular lockdown is located, according to Pateros Mayor Miguel Ponce III.

“It’s the barangay captain who will tie the yellow ribbon for easy identification,” he said.

Under the household tagging mechanism, the confirmed COVID-19 patient from the household will have to be isolated and family members prohibited from leaving their house.

Such a system is necessary, he said in his video message last Wednesday, as contracting COVID-19 should no longer be a stigma.

“To ensure that we can watch over and identify which houses will be locked down, we will use tagging. This is no longer to be ashamed of… finding out a neighbor is positive because this is now commonplace,” he said in Filipino.

Meanwhile, the local government will seal off a street or alley or eskinita where a cluster of households has residents who tested positive for COVID-19, Ponce added. He clarified in this case, residents in other houses in the lockdown area that do not have any COVID-19 patient would be allowed to leave.

“On a street where, say, six houses are on lockdown due to infected residents, we will block off the entire alley to make it a restricted area, but the alley itself will not be locked down,” he said.

Ponce warned residents to avoid their neighbors who defy health and safety protocols and might later test positive for COVID-19 so they would not be declared a close contact and subjected to household lockdown.

He said the municipal government came up with this approach, which he described as “accurate,” in enforcing granular lockdown “so both our constituents and the government will not have a hard time.”

Ponce’s previous executive order mandated that due to COVID-19’s more infectious Delta variant, confirmed patients must be isolated in government-assigned quarantine facilities. Home quarantine would be allowed in certain instances, he noted.

Close contacts must also be tested five days after recording of a confirmed case, and finish a 14-day quarantine at government centers regardless of the result of their RT-PCR test.

‘Alert level system untimely’

A group of doctors and other healthcare providers has expressed concern over the shift to the new alert level system which they said is tantamount to easing of restriction when there is a surge of COVID cases.

The Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC) said the under the new system, National Capital Region (NCR) was placed under Alert Level 4, which entails lighter quarantine restrictions than modified enhanced community quarantine or MECQ.

“This comes at a time when we face the worst surge of COVID- 19 cases in the Philippines. We now register more cases than at any other time since the pandemic started,” HPACC noted.

“Based on this premise, we are inclined to believe that the proposed scheme, which claims to use pandemic severity and healthcare utilization data in deciding the alert level, does not reflect the true situation on the ground,” HPAAC added.

HPACC urged the government to acknowledge and address the inadequacies of data reporting system that forms the basis for the alert levels.

It also called on the government to refocus on what can prevent future surges and achieve longer relief from the pandemic.

With the latest easing of restrictions, HPAAC also asked the public to help healthcare workers by limiting mobility and tightening protective measures.

Yesterday, the Department of Health (DOH) reported additional 21,261 cases, bringing to 2,304,192 the total number of confirmed COVID cases nationwide.

Of the number, 2,090,228 have recuperated, including 13,644 newly reported recoveries while 177,946 are active cases.

COVID-related fatalities rose to 36,018 with the inclusion of 277 additional deaths. – Mayen Jaymalin

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