By Minerva Newman
DUMAGUETE CITY — The Negros Oriental Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-IED) has prepared measures to facilitate the transition from Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) back to General Quarantine (GCQ) in the province, Friday.
Provincial Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (PESU) Head Dr. Liland Estacion justified the transition move as timely because there were no more reported or recorded local transmissions of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the province.
Estacion said that, as of April 28, out of the four persons tested positive for COVID-19 there were two mortalities, one recovered and one improved, who was already scheduled for discharge from the hospital. And since then all patients under investigation nor monitoring already tested negative for COVID-19.
“We have accomplished so far and encounter some challenges than what we’ve expected. I cannot say that there are zero cases in the province, but I am proud to say that in every test we conducted, all are negative,” Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo said.
Degamo added that Negros Oriental was among the provinces categorized as “moderate risk” by the National Inter-Agency Task Force of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF- IED), thus, there was a need to downgrade the status from ECQ to GCQ.
Degamo, however told the uniformed personnel that the modifications will be strictly imposed in the provincial boundaries and should continue to be closed to prevent the virus from entering the province as the neighboring provinces of Cebu and Negros Occidental still have COVID-19 positive cases.
According to the Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-NegOr head, Jennifer Tilos that some measures and other salient features of the transition that were discussed during the IATF meeting and were presented to the mayors once the province is on GCQ starts on May 1 included the following;
- All persons are mandated to observe physical distancing, washing of hands, and wearing of masks in all public places
- Municipal and city or barangay checkpoints will no longer be activated, and no more quarantine passes will be issued.
- Enforcement agencies as well as the barangay officials shall monitor within the areas to ensure residents comply with the government mandates, especially for persons aged 20 below and senior citizens (60 years old and above) are still not allowed to go out of their residents.
- Mass gatherings are still regulated which include no cockfighting and other forms of gambling, no religious activities nor social functions.
- There would still be heightened patrol of seaports and borders, and the borders, ports, and airports in the province remain closed.
- Construction work will also resume, and delivery of supplies and cargos throughout the province shall remain unhampered.
- Public transport such as buses and jeepneys can operate within the province only.
The local government units with tricycles as main mode of transport shall adopt a number-coding scheme to regulate the number of tricycles on the road.
Tilos added that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan will convene on May 4 to amend some provisions of the standing provincial ordinance in harmony with the executive order downgrading the ECQ to GCQ.