BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The governor and mayors of Negros Occidental were unanimous yesterday in recommending to the National Inter-Agency Task Force to place the province under the General Community Quarantine status for two weeks, following a surge of Covid-19 infections, with 1,132 active cases recorded, including Bacolod City, as of April 8.
The appeal was made even as Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson signed Executive Order No. 21-22, series of 2021, yesterday afternoon, to enforce curfew hours, from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., in the province of Negros Occidental, to curb the unprecedented increase of Covid confirmed cases, and limit gatherings.
The EO shall take effect 12 a.m. of April 12, 2021.
“There is a current epidemic surge in the province”, where active cases increased from 58 positives in February 2021 to 742, as of April 8,” the governor said.
Exempted from the curfew hours are persons in need of emergency services, personnel in cargo vehicles, and Authorized Persons Outside their Residence with valid work schedules, provided that they provide sufficient proof of their identification and work schedule, the EO added.
APPEAL FOR GCQ
Lacson, who presided over the Zoom meeting attended by all mayors of the province yesterday, said they will forward their recommendation to the regional IATF for support.
While the RIATF cannot give its approval to their request, Lacson said, “If we can convince the region, they can probably recommend it also, or support the request to the NIATF.”
Lacson also said that border control within Negros Occidental will be restored, but stressed that the delivery of essential goods will not be hampered.
Negros Occidental is under the Modified GCQ until April 30 this year.
Lacson noted the sudden spike of cases after the implementation of IATF Resolution 101, that no longer requires travelers to undergo swab testing and quarantine, and people started going around during the Holy Week observance.
During the GCQ period, Lacson said that people can still move around, provided that they seek permission from local government units where they are bound, using the S-Pass registration app.
EO ON GATHERINGS
Earlier, Lacson also issued an EO allowing mass gatherings up to 30 percent of the venue capacity, while lockdowns will be limited only to specific areas of LGUs, and should not include national roads.
On Thursday, Western Visayas governors and two mayors of highly urbanized cities also asked the NIATF to extend the travel moratorium until April 17.
Travel from the National Capital Region Plus as well as from Cebu and Davao to Western Visayas is suspended until today.
The Teresita Lopez Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City, Negros Occidental, issued an advisory yesterday that its outpatient and emergency services have been temporarily suspended from April 9 to 12 because the assigned nurses and physicians are under quarantine.
TLJPH chief, Dr. Estrella Ledesma, said that the Emergency Room will only accept cases of extreme emergency, while the Outpatient will only accept patients with referrals from their respective municipal or city health officers. The Bago City Hospital was also placed under total lockdown effective yesterday, until further notice, after several of its staff members also tested positive for Covid-19.*