THE provincial Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) appealed to the national IATF for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (MEID) on October 20 to reconsider its decision to place Negros Oriental under Alert Level 4.

In a resolution, the local IATF stated that the new alert level caught the province by surprise, as the local government units (LGUs) in Negros Oriental have been intensifying their vaccination activities and health and safety protocols.

The local IATF said the unexpected declaration will adversely affect the local businesses and jobs in the province.

But Governor Roel Degamo issued on October 19 Executive Order 38, adopting a set of guidelines under Alert Level 4 for the province.

Alert Level 4 is equivalent to the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

In a provincial IATF meeting, Siaton Mayor Fritz Diaz expressed concern about placing the province under a stricter status, saying it will make it tougher for the local economy to recover.

With this, Degamo urged the LGUs to be focused and decisive in the vaccination activities to balance the response to Covid-19 and keep the economy open.

“We really need the LGUs to actively participate in this fight against this pandemic,” he said.

The governor called the attention of the local health units to activate the isolation or quarantine facility in every barangay, including the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs), to evaluate and monitor patients, ensuring that only those moderate to severe cases will be hospitalized.

The province has vaccinated 315,204 residents (34 percent) as of October 19 out of the 908,939 target population, said Assistant Provincial Health Officer Dr. Liland Estacion.

Under the IATF guidelines, alert level systems classified from alert levels 1 to 5 will cover entire cities or municipalities where the transmission of the Covid-19 infections will be managed and minimized. (PIA)