By Freddie Lazaro
LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte – The Ilocos Norte government was cited for continuously “doing well” to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID – 19) throughout the province.
(Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte / MANILA BULLETIN)
Provincial Health Consultant Dr. Norman Rabago said that Ilocos Norte was described as low-risk by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) due to the absence of COVID-19 cases in the last 60 days primarily because of the strict precautionary measures implemented by the provincial government, which is led by Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc.
“Ang definition kasi ng IATF-EID para maging low-risk, kailangang sa loob ng 30 days, wala nang kaso ng COVID-19 ang isang lugar. E dito sa Ilocos Norte, halos 60 days nang wala. Ibig sabihin, Ilocos Norte is doing well,” said Rabago.
“Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc ordered not to ease our borders. Kung napansin ninyo, istrikto pa rin ang mga checkpoint. We have already prepared our province for our returning residents and we have set our plans like for continued reminders and education to all our citizens so that this new normal will be made aware to everybody. These are strict measures that we must follow so as not further compromise the safety of our citizens,” he added.
To abate the spread of COVID – 19 in the province, the provincial government has initiated numerous efforts.
Among these were the procurement of rapid test kits, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine and other necessary equipment, setting up of laboratory testing and adequate quarantine facilities, and provision of additional transportation for medical frontliners, among others.
Aside from health-related initiatives, several cash assistance programs, livelihood continuity programs, and employment opportunities for displaced workers, daily wage earners, and volunteers were implemented to address the dire effects brought by the pandemic to Ilocos Norte residents.
“We reviewed our capacities to handle the worst possible scenario that our province could have. Huwag naman sanang dumating yung worst, but we are trying to prepare the province for the worst scenario, at nakahanda naman tayo sa ngayon. The provincial government of Ilocos Norte is working hard to prepare the province but also its citizens,” Rabago said.
He once again reminded the Ilokanos, saying: “For a short period of time, we expect this to go on for months or even years. Kaya baguhin natin ang mindset natin at tanggapin na ito na ang ating bagong normal. Kaya natin ito basta magtulungan tayong labanan ang COVID-19. We will heal as one.”
At present, Ilocos Norte is under a modified general community quarantine.