The entire city will remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) until Oct. 15 as local communities continue to grapple with the increasing cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) local transmission.
City Mayor Ronnel Rivera ordered the GCQ extension and the sustained implementation of movement restrictions for residents as well as border lockdown through Executive Order (EO) No. 46 released on Tuesday afternoon.
He said the move was unanimously endorsed by members of the city’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases and concerned stakeholders.
“The city is not yet ready to open its borders to receive travelers from other areas with Covid-19 local transmission,” the mayor said in his order.
Under EO 46, Rivera said the enforcement of the number coding scheme for vehicles, clustering of barangays and market days, use of quick response or QR-coded enhanced quarantine pass, total lockdown every Sunday, regulated mass gatherings, suspension of face-to-face classes, and curfew from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. will continue.
He said the city will continue with the heightened border lockdown, which suspended public transportation routes into the city since Aug. 28.
In a radio interview on Wednesday, the mayor said the extension of the GCQ is aimed to control the movement of residents and prevent the further spread of Covid-19.
“Controlling the entry of people here is really a huge challenge since we are the center of commerce in Region 12 (Soccsksargen),” he said.
He cited the presence of the city international airport, fishport, major shopping malls, and industries.
The confirmed Covid-19 cases in the city since March already reached a total of 340 as of Tuesday night, with 13 related deaths and 170 recoveries.
The city government declared on Aug. 31 the local transmission of Covid-19 in several barangays, with some of the cases traced to those who had exposure at the fishport complex in Barangay Tambler.
Due to the rising Covid-19 infections, Rivera said healthcare resources in the area for patients with moderate to serious and critical cases are “still (in) alarming state”.
The limited testing capacity in the city was resolved with the issuance of the license to operate last Sept. 17 for its molecular laboratory. However, he said the true range of infection among residents cannot be established yet as its operation is still in the early phase.
As of Sept. 28, the Department of Health reported that 100 of the available 180 beds for Covid-19 patients in eight private and government hospitals here were occupied, or an occupancy rate of 55.6 percent.
“We continue to believe that non-pharmaceutical intervention is still the most effective way of combating the disease with the city’s limited medical facilities,” Rivera said. (PNA)