Cebu News

Cebu City pushes COVID-19 patient isolation ordinance

Mary Ruth R. Malinao - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu City Councilor David Tumulak wants to put into an ordinance the city’s guidelines for home isolation of residents testing positive for COVID-19, including the rules on extracting them if they are not qualified to isolate at home.

The proposed measure is being reviewed by the City Council’s Committee on Laws, Ordinances, and Styling.

“To allow home isolation in the City of Cebu, there is a need to identify, codify and implement clear guidelines on the implementation of home isolation. Furthermore, if home isolation is not suitable, there is also a need to lay down clear implementing procedures for the extraction and transfer of COVID individuals to isolation facilities,” the proposed ordinance reads.

It says the authority and power of a local government unit to implement and enforce isolation guidelines, whether at home or at designated isolation facilities, and to prohibit or penalize violators, is enshrined in Republic Act No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.


Section 2 of the proposed ordinance provides that to qualify for home isolation, the factors to consider are the evaluation of the COVID-19 patient who is either asymptomatic or exhibiting mild or moderate symptoms; evaluation of the home setting following the guidelines provided in the ordinance; and ability to monitor the condition of the patient at home as well as ability to follow health and safety standards and protocols at home by all household members.

The city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) shall evaluate and approve the home isolation of a qualified COVID-19 patient after all the criteria, as provided, have been met, after the initial assessment and favorable endorsement by the barangay health worker (BHW).

Throughout the duration of the home isolation period, it shall be the duty of the BHW to assess and monitor strict compliance by the subject individual and his/her household members with the isolation protocols and guidelines provided, the proposal reads.

Section 4 of the proposal states that if a person who tests positive for COVID-19 does not qualify for home isolation, he/she shall be transferred to any of the accredited isolation facilities within the city following the standard operating procedure by the EOC and City Health Office, subject to additional guidelines.

These additional guidelines include proper explanation by the extraction team to the patient and family members on why he/she does not qualify for home isolation and the team’s authority to place the individual in a suitable facility; respecting the privacy of the individual/s involved during the extraction by directing neighbors to stay indoors and refrain from taking pictures or videos of the transfer; and barangay officials or tanod helping ensure a peaceful and orderly conduct of the extraction and transfer.


Section 5 of the proposed ordinance identifies the violations, including going against isolation protocols and minimum health and safety protocols during the period of home quarantine; non-cooperation of the patient or any of his/her household members during extraction and transfer; threats and intimidation against the extraction team or any official in the exercise of their duty under the ordinance or other applicable regulation during the conduct of extraction operations; and failure to respect the privacy of the persons involved during the extraction operations by taking pictures or videos.

Any person found violating this section of the proposed ordinance shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than one month and one day to six months and a fine of P5,000.

If the person is COVID positive, any action or proceeding against him/her shall be commenced after recovery or after period of isolation. JMO (FREEMAN)

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