IT’S now official that the whole province of Negros Occidental will be under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) amid the concerns on the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) starting Monday, March 30 until April 14 after Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson signed an Executive Order Thursday, March 26.
Lacson clarified that an ECQ is not a lockdown because this will only limit people on the streets while in a lockdown, nobody can go out of the streets.
“The impression now is nobody can go out. The impression is that grocery stores will be closed, the banks and utilities. That is not true. It will be normal and they will be open with some adjustments in the number of hours.
Capitol will deploy skeletal force during the entire period of the ECQ. Employees who are not physically fit or have some medical conditions may do their jobs at home with pay, Lacson said.
“The key word here is cooperation,” he added.
“Your relatives in Manila have been doing this for about three weeks already and they’re managing it so let us also do our share here in Negros Occidental”, Lacson said.
In the Executive Order (EO), Lacson said that as precaution against the spread or local transmission of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), “there is a need to implement social distancing and other preventive measures.”
The governor also cited figures in Negros Occidental as of March 25, there are a total of 12,768 persons under monitoring (PUM) with 2,600 cleared after the 14-day quarantine. Nine persons are under investigation (PUI) while 24 PUIs have already been discharged from hospital.
There were two recorded deaths (PUI) pending laboratory results. Of the two deaths, one is from Binalbagan and one from San Carlos City. Both have underlying health issues. The one from San Carlos Cuty died of acute respiratory disease and pneumonia but had no travel history except that a family member went to Dumaguete but contact was not established while the one in Binalbagan died of liver cirrhosis with pneumonia with history of travel in Manila so they were considered as PUIs.
The EO also declared suspension of mass transport that will apply to all buses, jeepneys, taxis, V-hire vans, tricycles, e-tricycles and trysikads.
It also mandates the Provincial Government to implement a scheme of delivering food packs and other basic necessities to vulnerable cities and towns during the 14-day period.
Establishments providing basic necessities and engaged in food and medical supplies, processing plants, money remittance and transfer services, petroleum, power and energy, water, telecommunication facilities, BPOs, sugar centrals will remain open.
However, businesses will only maintain a strict skeletal force of 25 percent of their regular plantilla, the EO stated.
It also orders the businesses to provide workers in the skeletal force with living quarters as mandatory quarantine.
Closure of borders, ports and airports will remain enforced.
During the ECQ, local government units are mandated to provide food packs for families affected and they should provide point to point transportation plan to deliver family representatives to markets or stores within their jurisdiction.
Delivery of all cargoes should not be delayed as well.
The EO added that a household quarantine pass will be issued at one member per household which will be used when the representative purchases food, medicine and other essential commodities.
The villages shall distribute the pass house-to-house.
Lacson also clarified supermarkets and grocery stores are capable of restocking their supplies, when asked about the assurance of sufficient availability of food and essentials.
“We’re only limiting the movement of the people especially on the streets. Buy normal consumption the way you do it on normal days but not that is good for a month or more,” Lacson said.
The towns and cities are also mandated to assist constituents and displaced workers in need.