By Nonoy Lacson
ZAMBOANGA CITY — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has declined the request of Zamboanga City Task Force (COVID-19) for an extension of the Enhance Community Quarantine (ECQ) in this city until May 31. Hence, it shall be placed under general community quarantine after May 15.
Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco said the city had informed the IATF-EID about the continued rise in COVID-19 cases despite the stringent measures to contain the spread of the virus.
Climaco said the latest results received from the COVID-19 laboratory of the Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC) revealed 16 more positive COVID-19 cases for Zamboanga City.
The 16 new COVID-19 cases were part of the 60 freed PDLs who are undergoing the mandatory 14-day quarantine based on the protocol set by the City Government to ensure that newly released PDLs will not infect their families and respective communities.
All the freed PDLs found positive of COVID-19 have been transferred to the isolation facility of the city government in Cabatangan in this city. The city now has a total of 124 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Of the figure, two are confined at a hospital in Metro Manila, seven coming from the various communities in this city and the bulk were recorded inside the Zamboanga City Reformatory Center (ZCRC) with 112 COVID-19 cases including nine jail guards of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
Climaco said the city government is finalizing the implementing rules and regulation (IRR) for the transition to GCQ that will be adopted by the local authorities.
“We have drafted the GCQ guidelines and it will be formalized through an executive order on Saturday or Monday when the city is ready to shift to GCQ status,” she said.
The city is now on its 57th day of ECQ, and many people here are clamoring for a modified measure, which will allow them to resume work. City folk observed that many of those bulk infected with COVID-19 were persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) and jail guards. They asked the mayor to lock down the city’s jail facility in order to contain the spread of the virus.
The city jail facility sits on a 600-square-meter complex that can accommodate about 600 people but is presently occupied by about 3,319 PDLs and 128 officers and employees.