The Enhanced Community Quarantine in Negros Occidental to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic is targeted to start Monday until April 14, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said yesterday.
The dates are included in a draft executive order placing Negros Occidental under ECQ, which is expected to be signed by Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson today, he said.
Diaz said the governor sent a copy of the draft to Bacolod City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan in order to have a coordinated response to the COVID-19 threat.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia earlier said Bacolod City is open to joining the proposed ECQ of the province because it is best that “we are coordinated and synchronized” in our efforts against the COVID-19 threat.
An ECQ means people will have to stay home with only those in government and engaged in essential businesses allowed out, Diaz said.
It will be a near standstill, he said.
It is the only way to defeat the virus, Diaz said.
He said public transportation from tricycles, jeeps, to buses, are being urged to halt operations.
COVID-19 spread swiftly in Italy because it did not immediately stop its mass transportation causing the rapid transmission of the virus, Diaz said. Italy, as of yesterday, had the highest COVID-19 deaths at 6,077 with 63,927 infected by the virus.
The ECQ until April 14 would mean Negros Occidental would end its quarantine at about the same time as Luzon, he said.
He said a list of the essential businesses and persons exempted from the ECQ will be released.
They are accepting proposals and suggestions from the private sector so they can be approved by their health committee and incorporated in the EO, Diaz added.
One person per family will be allowed to purchase groceries and medicines but must obtain a pass from their barangay captains, he said.
There will be enough food and medicine as cargo will continue entering the province, he assured.
However, despite the assurance, in Bacolod City,residents formed long lines at grocery stores and drugstores yesterday ahead of the ECQ.
The provincial government has also allocated P1 million in rice for each town and city in the province, which local government units can pick up from the National Food Authority, he said.
Diaz said the governor is prepared to provide more assistance, if needed.
The provincial government is also packing 25,000 food packs as emergency assistance on top of what is being prepared by the LGUs, Diaz said.
The provincial government will be ready to troubleshoot if there is any area in Negros Occidental that needs help, he said.
Diaz said rolling stores will also be sent to remote barangays to enable people to buy food.
Capitol employees who continue to work amid the COVID-19 threat will receive hazard pay, he said.
When the ECQ is implemented a skeletal force will remain at the Capitol to continue serving the public, Diaz added.
High risk employees will remain at home, he said.*
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