By Freddie Lazaro
LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte – Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc has placed the province under community quarantine effective Sunday, March 15, to ensure the safety of residents amid the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Manotoc signed Executive Order 60-20 for the observance of a general community quarantine throughout the province.
The governor’s EO mandates the establishment of COVID-19 checkpoints at the borders of Ilocos Norte located in the towns of Badoc, Nueva Era, and Pagudpud.
“People who will pass through these borders will have their temperatures scanned. Those people with symptoms of COVID-19 will automatically be denied entry, and be will endorsed to the Municipal Heath Office,” said Manotoc.
“The travelers who come from COVID-19 infected places must undergo self-quarantine and travel going to and from Ilocos Norte will be discouraged unless they are residents of the province,” he said.
He said that all government offices, private agencies, business establishments, and non-essential entities were encouraged to stop operations or advised to let their personnel to work from home.
“Public gatherings are cancelled and classes in all levels both in private and public schools are indefinitely suspended,” he said.
He also said that drinking liquor will be banned in public places but will be allowed in private residences.
“The province of Ilocos Norte remains COVID-19- free as of this time; but we need to be more vigilant to employ all-out safety measures to prevent the infection of the corona virus in the province.
Meanwhile, policemen in Ilocos Norte have stationed border control in the boundaries of Ilocos Norte-Ilocos Sur and Pagudpud-Cagayan to prevent the entry of COVID-19 in the province.
Earlier, the management of the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center in Batac City belied a post circulating in social media about the presence of 18 patients under investigation (PUIs) due to COVID-19 in the hospital.
The hospital management said the report was fake and it was reiterated to the residents that before the sharing of information in the social media, it should be check from verified sources and official pages from the health department.
To intensifying the protective measures against the Covid-19 spread, Governor Manotoc said the provincial government of Ilocos Norte will purchase additional protective gears through its Quick Recovery Fund.
Listed on the purchase to be delivered this weekend or early next week are
500 complete sets of personal protective equipment (PPE), 500 vials of flu vaccines, 300 bottles and 20 gallons of alcohol, 115 bottles of disinfectant, 300 boxes of face mask, and 150 hyposol.
According to Task Force Salun-at of Ilocos Norte, the province has also ample supply of relief packs and medicines on standby, if needed.
He also assured that the province is closely coordinating with the Bureau of Quarantine by equipping the Laoag International Airport with temperature scanner and competent health personnel.