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Iloilo, 3 cities under ECQ until July 31

Christina Mendez, Jennifer Rendon - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Iloilo province and the cities of Iloilo, Gingoog and Cagayan de Oro have been placed under the strictest enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to contain the spread of COVID-19 amid concerns over the Delta variant.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) said the ECQ status would be in effect until July 31.

“The reclassification was made upon the recommendation of the DOH (Department of Health), its technical advisory group and the technical working group on COVID-19 variants,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said yesterday.

The new quarantine status was announced a day after Iloilo province and the cities of Iloilo and Cagayan de Oro were placed under modified ECQ until July 22 and Cagayan de Oro and Gingoog until the end of the month.

Meanwhile, Roque said the general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions is imposed in Antique from July 22 to July 31.

Misamis Oriental, which was earlier placed under modified GCQ until the end of the month, will be under GCQ with heightened restrictions until July 31.

A few hours before Roque announced the new quarantine classifications, Iloilo Mayor Jerry Treñas lashed out at Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing during a virtual meeting with  Western Visayas local chief executives and members of the regional IATF when told about the shift to ECQ.

“What do you want? What will happen following a week or two weeks?” Treñas was quoted as asking Densing.

He said Densing should instead ask the DOH how to ”logically” lower the cases in one week.

Densing for his part, said they acknowledge the efforts of the city government. ”Kaya lang may mga bagay na hindi natin kontrolado. Binanggit ng Philippine Genome Center, nandiyan ang maraming kaso ng Alpha at Delta variants,” he said.

Densing said local officials should not be totally dependent on the vaccines as the sole solution to contain the spread of the virus.

“What we are doing is containment strategy... It is the long-term solution,” he said.

Treñas noted that they have been explaining to the DOH that the 58 percent hospital bed ocupancy in the city are patients from other provinces.

“We are doing everything and beyond for my people. We are calling for their help because we can only do so much. We are hoping that we are also assisted with the same assistance as with those in areas that once experienced a peak in cases,” he said.

Treñas and Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. had earlier vowed to appeal the stricter quarantine status.

”Most of the local chief executives will appeal our classification as we do not want our people to suffer,” Treñas said.

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