21 Tacloban communities locked down due to COVID-19 threat

TACLOBAN CITY (PNA) – At least 21 communities here were locked down starting Tuesday to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement Wednesday, Mayor Alfred Romualdez said these identified areas were vulnerable, either due to large populations, clustering of cases, or reports of at least two infected residents.

These were barangays 42-A (Rizal Avenue), 6-A (Sto. Niño Extension), 109-A (V and G), 109 (V and G), 60 (Gotaw), 87 (San Jose), 84 (Cogon), 94 (Tigbao), 43-B (Quarry District), 95 (Caibaan), 65 (Paseo de Legaspi), 93 (Bagacay), 96 (Calanipawan), 62-A (Ilong, Sagkahan), 62-B (Kalipayan, Sagkahan), 105 (Suhi), 63 (Mangga, Sagkahan), 57 (White Lane, Sampaguita), 99 (Diit), 54 (Magallanes), and 56 (Pericohon).

The city government said the strict movement restriction will be lifted once contact tracing is done.

“A total lockdown is out of the question. We have already identified areas with positive cases, contact tracing are being done and QR codes are being used. We are doing a granular lockdown in vulnerable villages, not only those with confirmed cases but also highly populated,” Romualdez said.

The Department of Health (DOH) in the region has declared local transmission in the city due to reported cases with no travel history outside the region, but with exposure to confirmed patients.

As of Monday, the city has 422 cases, with 316 active cases 4 deaths, based on the report of the city health office.

Romualdez said they will talk to the medical society to discuss strategies in preventing the spread of the virus, as 80 percent of its local cases involved health care workers (HCW).

“The question now is, why is there a transmission? And why is it coming from our hospitals when these HCWs understand and fully know the protocols and proper equipment to be used? I am not fault-finding, I am just presenting facts based on our contact tracing,” he added.

Romualdez said the city government is willing to help medical practitioners in providing personal protective equipment and additional manpower, if needed.

He added that they will also be implementing other protocols in the coming days such as the coding system, wherein non-residents will only be allowed entry on specific days, unless for essential purposes.

“I am asking everyone, not only Taclobanons, please let us be united. We have contingency plans, we just ask you to be patient. Is this a serious problem? Yes. But is this something to worry about? No, if you are following health protocols. As I always said, if you go out, act like the person beside you is Covid-19 positive,” Romualdez said.

Meanwhile, Eastern Visayas has confirmed a total of 3,003 cases since March, including 1,738 recoveries and 24 deaths, based on the latest DOH monitoring report.