Bataan asks national IATF for ECQ classification instead of MECQ

BALANGA, BATAAN – In response to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the province and the critical level of Emergency Rooms and Intensive Care Units (ICU) occupancy rate due to the discovery of the Delta variant here last week, Gov. Garcia and the provincial Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) petitioned the national IATF to place the entire province of Bataan under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) instead of the earlier pronouncement of Malacanang that places Bataan under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) from Aug. 1-15.

They also asked that the municipality of Mariveles, the current COVID-19 epicenter in the province where the most number of confirmed Delta variant cases were found, be placed under ECQ with heightened restrictions.

As of the latest count, Bataan now has close to 2,000 active COVID-19 cases and less than 20 confirmed Delta variant cases. In Mariveles town where the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) is located, 1,419 active cases were already listed. Most local transmissions here happen inside the industrialized zone.

During a consultative meeting between the provincial government, the provincial health office, members of the Bataan IATF and the local chief executives of all the towns here, a University of the Philippines expert showed a data analytics that predicts a 3,000-5,000 increase in COVID cases in Bataan this month of August.

“We cannot allow the situation to get any worse. We need to buy time so we can prevent the breakdown of the health system here in Bataan. The ECQ will surely help us track and control the virus and give our health workers the necessary rest they need. We don’t want our COVID situation here to be like what we see in the news happening in India, Indonesia or Malaysia,” said Garcia.

Garcia said they have already asked for augmentation of police personnel to man all border checkpoints in Bataan, down to the barangays.

“We already have 21 vaccination sites today. We have been assured of additional vaccine supplies by the national government. In fact we are expecting 50,000 Sinovac and 50,000 Moderna vaccines. We will take the opportunity to vaccinate as much Bataeno as possible because we want to achieve herd immunity before the year ends.”

Garcia believes that risk communications is also crucial to stop the spread of Coronavirus in the community. He has been campaigning non-stop for the people to understand the importance of prevention.

“They need to follow basic health protocols at all times, even inside the home especially when there are family members who go out to work. They can’t get tired of obeying the guidelines. The fight is still on and COVID is still here,” he added.