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Iloilo City eyes hard lockdown amid Delta variant concerns

The Iloilo City government, as per recommendation of the Covid Team, will impose stringent precautionary measures amid the detection of a case of the Delta coronavirus disease 2019 variant in the metropolis.

“From Aug. 3 to 8, I will place the city on hard lockdown as protection for everyone here. Aklan and Cebu are both experiencing a surge; their hospitals are full with patients already being confined outside the facility. We don’t want the same scenario in Iloilo City,” Mayor Jerry Treñas said in a statement through the Public Information Office yesterday.

Among the measures that were recommended by the team included the temporary closure of non-essential establishments, or those not related to food and medicine and liquor ban.

Also, inbound travels coming from all areas to include authorized persons outside residence, returning residents, and returning overseas Filipinos will be temporarily suspended from August 4 to 8.

This whole week, only fully vaccinated persons are allowed to transact at the City Hall as announced by Treñas on Aug. 1.

“This is to minimize the possibility of infection due to the threat of the Delta variant. I am also reminding everyone that mass gatherings are strictly prohibited right now,” he said.

The city’s first Delta variant, a 30-year-old male from Mandurriao district, was reported on July 29.

He and his wife, who also tested positive, have been placed in quarantine. His place of residence and workplace are on lockdown until Aug. 3 to give way to contact tracing and swab testing.

Meanwhile, Dr. Bea Camille Natalaray, medical officer III at the Department of Health Western Visayas Center for Health Development, said that while they understand the move of the city government, vaccination is yet voluntary.

“We understand the step of the local government unit to increase the infection prevention control, especially at the city hall, but the Department of Health and the World Health Organization strategic advisory group of experts always recommend that vaccination should be purely voluntary,” she said in a virtual presser yesterday.

Natalaray said there are limitations subject to the availability of vaccines and, for now, the priority will be those from the A1 to A3. A4 will be included in the priority in high risk areas.

“We need to encourage more target groups or priority groups to get vaccinated as soon as possible if we have available vaccines,” she said.

TIGHT WATCH OVER MINORS

In Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, authorities have advised parents to make sure their children stay home to prevent them from contracting the Covid-19, especially amid the threat of the highly transmissible Delta variant.

City health marshals, headed by the executive assistant for security concerns, retired police general Rey Lyndon Lawas, are doing the rounds of the city to ensure that children aged 17 and below, and senior citizens 66 years old and above will remain in their homes.

Lawas, in an interview Sunday, expressed frustration that many people still continue to violate local and national laws on this particular prohibition.

“We have been implementing this since the imposition of the modified enhanced community quarantine starting June and we are continuing it until today as part of the heightened restrictions under the general community quarantine,” he said in mixed English and Cebuano dialect.

The province and the city are under GCQ-HR from Aug. 1 to 15, the first extension of the classification first imposed from July 16 to 31.

There are two teams of health marshals going around the city every day to ensure that children stay home, especially because the Delta variant is said to be targeting the younger people.

“That is why we are strengthening the implementation of the health protocols, particularly when we talk about the age,” Lawas said.

The health marshals are composed of personnel from the City Health Office, Philippine National Police, Traffic Management Office, Special Enforcement Unit, Department Trade and Industry, City Social Welfare and Development Office, City Administrator’s Office and Bureau of Fire Protection.*PNA

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