The ongoing 14-day enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Negros Occidental and this capital city has been extended for 16 more days, or until April 30, as part of intensified efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Mayor Evelio Leonardia issued separate directives on Wednesday, declaring an extension of the ECQ, which will now run for a month, from an initial period of only 14 days set from March 30 to April 14.
“As a disease prevention and control measure in limiting the transmission of Covid-19 in the province, the Provincial Health Office has recommended the extension of the duration of the ECQ,” Lacson said in Executive Order (EO) 20-20-A.
The order said the provisions of EO 20-20, which initially declared the 14-day ECQ, would remain in force and in effect until April 30.
The ECQ passes issued by the provincial government will remain valid until the end of the extended quarantine period, it added.
“It will be a continuation of the existing ECQ. Those given exemptions up to April 14 can still use the same. We will notify the Philippine National Police personnel manning the checkpoints that all exemptions issued will still be considered valid up to April 30,” Lacson said in a press conference at the Capitol Social Hall here.
He also reiterated the mandatory use of face masks in public places in his latest directive.
With the extended quarantine period, Lacson said the provincial government would provide additional rice subsidy for the 12 cities and 19 municipalities in the province.
Negros Occidental has only one confirmed Covid-19 patient, a 41-year-old female from EB Magalona town, whose first repeat test already yielded a negative result.
On Wednesday, she was discharged from the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital located in neighboring Silay City.
The patient’s five close contacts, members of her family, and her one close contact at work have also tested negative.
So far, the Provincial Health Office has collected a total of 135 specimens, which were submitted to both the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and the Western Visayas Medical Center.
Of the number, 130 came out negative while one yielded a positive result. Four results are still pending.
In Bacolod City, Leonardia issued EO 29, declaring the extension of the ECQ also until April 30.
“(T)he extension of the imposed ECQ is necessary so as the city shall not lose its current gains and momentum in terms of controlling the spread of the virus,” he said in the order.
Leonardia added that he approved the extension after consulting Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, chairman of the inter-agency task force against Covid-19, as well as with the officials of the City Health Office and the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.
As of Wednesday, a total of 162 persons had been tested in Bacolod. Of the number, seven yielded positive results, including the one who died. A total of 99 also tested negative while 56 results are still pending.
“The foregoing statistics show that the danger of local transmission is still a grave and present threat, which cannot be underestimated. The city cannot be complacent and must therefore institute stringent measures to stop the transmission of Covid-19,” Leonardia added in the order.
During the ECQ, a strict home quarantine in all households is observed and movement is limited to accessing basic necessities. All forms of public transportation are also suspended.
Moreover, provision for food and essential health services is regulated and there is a heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures. (PNA)