San Juan, Mandaluyong prepare for transition to ‘modified’ quarantine

By Jhon Casinas

San Juan and Mandaluyong city governments are preparing for the transition to modified community quarantine after May 15, according to Mayors Francis Zamora and Carmelita Abalos.

Market goers sit 1 chair apart while waiting to enter a supermarket before the 48 hour hard lockdown of Sampaloc Area. Photo by Jansen Romero (Jansen Romero / MANILA BULLETIN)

President Duterte had approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to place the entire Metro Manila, Laguna province, and Cebu City under a modified ECQ from May 16 to May 31.

This was announced by Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque on Tuesday, noting ECQ will remain to be enforced in the said areas but some sectors will be allowed to resume limited operations.

San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora said the local government is ready to continue helping its residents once the strict quarantine measure will be extended.

In the meeting of the Metro Manila mayors recently, Zamora said he expressed his support for the extension of the ECQ amid the continuous threat of COVID-19.

According to Zamora, San Juan City ranked second in terms of the case doubling time of COVID-19 transmission in the metropolis. He explained that it takes longer for COVID-19 cases in the city to double in number.

“That means that we are now containing the spread of COVID-19 here in San Juan,” he said.

“But this is not the reason to conclude that we should transition into a general community quarantine because all of our efforts for two months will be all for nothing,” he added.

The local chief executive said the implementation of a strict quarantine measure such as the ECQ is beneficial for San Juan as the city has achieved significant progress in containing the spread of the dreaded disease.

“We will be ready even if the ECQ is further extended even beyond May,” Zamora said.

Also on Tuesday, Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III observed the mass testing conducted at the San Juan City Gymnasium. He was accompanied by Zamora and officials from the DOH and the local government.

As of May 10, the mayor said San Juan City has 268 confirmed cases, 37 deaths, and 163 recoveries.

Meanwhile, Mandaluyong City Mayor Carmelita Abalos met with shopping mall representatives on Monday to discuss the precautionary measures to be undertaken once the modified ECQ starts.

Some of the largest and most visited shopping malls in the country are located in Mandaluyong City. These include SM Megamall, The Podium, and Shangri-La Plaza, among other establishments.

Abalos said mall representatives were advised to comply with the workplace safety and health guidelines issued by the Department of Trade and Industry, and the Department of Labor and Employment.

“This includes a thorough screening of those entering their establishment, mandatory wearing of masks, physical distancing, and other measures against the spread of COVID-19,” she said.

“We also encourage them to make sure their employees are in good health and to conduct regular check-ups on their health condition,” she added.

As part of its efforts the curb the spread of the disease in the community, the Mandaluyong City government had earlier placed Welfareville Compound in Barangay Addition Hills and Barangay Mauway under a “total lockdown” due to the high number of COVID-19 cases in the areas.

According to the City Health Office, Barangay Mauway has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Mandaluyong with 71 confirmed cases, followed by Barangay Addition Hills with 59 confirmed cases.

In its latest update, Mandaluyong City has 475 confirmed cases, 38 deaths, and 145 recoveries as of Monday afternoon.