By Chito Chavez
Twenty areas in five Quezon City (QC) barangays will be placed under the 14-day special concern lockdown (SCL) starting 5 a.m. on Wednesday (May 13) for having the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases in the city.
The Quezon City government on Tuesday said that initially the SCL will be enforced in high-risk areas in barangays Bahay Toro, Culiat, Sauyo, Batasan Hills, and Tatalon.
As of May 11, Barangay Culiat has the highest number of COVID-19 cases with 37, followed by Barangays Batasan Hills, 29; Bahay Toro, 21; Sauyo, 19; and Tatalon, 17.
However, the city government has yet to identify the high-risk areas in the five barangays.
Assistant City Administrator for Operations Alberto Kimpo said these areas were initially chosen by the Quezon City Health Department (QCHD) based on the results of community-based testing it conducted through its Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (ESU).
Instead of a total lockdown on the whole barangay, Kimpo said the city government will focus on the high-risk areas of each of these barangays where clustering of COVID-19 cases are numerous.
These high risk areas may be a block, street, or compound within the aforementioned barangays, Kimpo said.
In preventing the spread of COVID-19, Kimpo said another major area of concern is the high density population of places where quarantine protocols are neglected.
He said the QCHD will focus on densely populated locations where COVID-19 transmission is most likely to occur.
Since the containment of the virus is a primary concern, Kimpo said the city government will further strengthen its community-based testing and quarantine efforts.
Kimpo assured the residents of the high-risk areas in the five barangays that the city government will provide them with food and other assistance.
Dr. Rolly Cruz, head of the Quezon City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (QCESU), said they will conduct intensified testing and monitoring in these areas to ensure that they are COVID-free after the 14-day quarantine period ends.
Kimpo noted that quarantine officers from the newly formed “QC Laban COVID-19” team will help the QCESU perform its job by ensuring the strict enforcement of quarantine rules.
The team is composed of members from the City Health Department (CHD), the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), Special Action Force (SAF), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Joint Task Force-National Capital Region (JTF-NCR), under Brig. Gen. Alex Luna.
The QCESU will be accompanied by two personnel from the QCPD and three from the AFP, including one regular officer and two reservists.
“More than 200 members of the QCPD-AFP-SAF contingent will undergo training on the process of implementing quarantine rules and monitoring of confirmed and possible COVID-19 cases,” Cruz said.
Aside from ensuring the strict implementation of quarantine processes, Cruz said the quarantine officers are also mandated to conduct information dissemination drives on how to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
Mayor Joy Belmonte reiterated her appeal to citizens in the affected areas to fully cooperate with the local government’s effort to combat COVID-19.