Bacolod, Zamboanga ECQ extension sought
Roel Pareño, Gilbert Bayoran (The Philippine Star) - April 30, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The city councils of Bacolod and Zamboanga have passed resolutions asking the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to allow the extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in their area until May 15.

The Bacolod City council cited an increase in the number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the city, with two deaths as of Monday.

The council noted that 150 residents are still waiting for their test results.

“While we are happy that the IATF classified us as a low-risk area, that is not an absolute guarantee that our people are safe and secure,” Mayor Evelio Leonardia said.

In Zamboanga City, the delay in the release of test results prompted calls for the extension of the ECQ.

Health authorities said they have 119 pending test results from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

Dulce Amor Miravite, Zamboanga City health office chief, said only 255 of the 331 suspected cases in the city have been tested. At least 129 were found negative for the virus.

”Until we get the test results we will know the extent of infection,” Miravite said.

Zamboanga City recorded seven cases with two deaths and three recoveries. Two remain confined at the COVID center.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the resolution passed by the Bacolod City council has reached the Office of the President and has been referred to the IATF for recommendation.

“Let us wait for the IATF’s decision,” Roque said.

In Tacloban City, Mayor Alfred Romualdez issued an executive order on the city’s shift to general community quaratine status tomorrow.

“We will go on status quo until May 1. This will give time to the public and private sectors to see the new guidelines, what establishments are allowed to open and in what capacity,” Romualdez said.

He said Tacloban City would remain strict in guarding its borders to prevent the entry of suspected and confirmed cases from Samar and other areas in Leyte.

“Please don’t keep any secret... especially about symptoms manifested by any individual,”Romualdez said.

He asked the cooperation of the public in contact tracing to prevent the spread of the disease.

No total lockdown in Cavite

Meanwhile, Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla clarified reports that the province would be on total lockdown until May 15 amid an increase in the number of cases and arrested quarantine violators.

In a post on Facebook, Remulla said public markets and other essential establishments would remain open.

Remulla said ECQ protocols would be strictly implemented.

“I intend to administer the full force of the law to protect the well-being of everyone. I will use all the resources available to make sure that the curve does not rise,” he said even as he appealed for patience from his constituents.

Remulla noted that Cavite has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Calabarzon.

The Department of Health regional office said there are 180 confirmed cases in the province, with 23 deaths as of Tuesday.

Col. Vicente Cabatingan, Bacoor City police chief, said only Barangay Molino 2 remains under total lockdown. – With Miriam Desacada, Christina Mendez, Ed Amoroso 

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