The medical community aired its dismay Tuesday, June 15, at the failure of the National Inter-Agency Task Force (NIATF) to place Bacolod City and Negros Occidental under a “stricter quarantine status” amid the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases.
President Rodrigo Duterte announced Monday night, that Bacolod City and Negros Occidental will remain under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ), while Iloilo City, Iloilo province and Negros Oriental will be under the more stringent Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).
The Philippine College of Physicians-Negros Occidental Chapter (PCP-NOC) headed by Dr. Ronel Sario in a statement issued Tuesday said “We are saddened by the decision of the NIATF with regards to the quarantine status assigned to us, while our neighboring provinces are in stricter status. Basing it from number of cases alone, we are tagged as high risk and we even surpassed Metro Manila cases. The numbers are exponentially increasing day by day and this is beyond alarming.”
“We just wanted to have a Time Out (stricter quarantine status), this means limitation of movement of the community for at least two weeks to halt the transmission of the virus from one household to another,” the PCP-NOC said.
The Time Out would decongest the hospitals and facilities, it said.
“Now it seems that we are left unarmed but we still continue to call and appeal to all Bacoleños and Negrenses…COVID is still here and this is our main enemy. We need you to cooperate and follow the rules implemented to stop the spread of this deadly virus,” the PCP-NOC said.
The PCP-NOC said the medical profession remains to be one of the most resilient arms of society and to hear everyone now crying for help means the COVID-19 situation is serious.
Despite the alarms raised by the medical community, the PCP-NOC said bars, coffee shops, and the like are still open without regard for personal and the community’s safety.
The war is still far from over, the PCP-NOC said, as it called on the public to avoid social gatherings with other households even if held outdoors, especially over food and drinks.
It is also called for early voluntary isolation if one feels sick even before getting tested. Limit movement to essential errands activities only, the PC-NOC said.
“We witness the suffering of COVID-19 patients every day. And victims of COVID are already within our homes. Let us all stop and reflect on our priorities…health or wealth?” PCP-NOC.
The Department of Health on Monday again tagged Bacolod City as a high risk area for COVID-19 , and Negros Occidental as low risk area.
There were 72 new COVID-19 cases in Bacolod City for a total of 1,920 active cases on Tuesday, the DOH also reported.
Bacolod City has a total of 11,440 COVID-19 cases, 9,227 recoveries and 290 deaths, it added.
Negros Occidental had 32 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.
The province has a total of 16,912 COVID-19 cases, 14,727 recoveries, 391 deaths and 1,794 active cases, the Provincial Incident Management Team reported.
Bacolod officials did not request the NIATF for a higher quarantine status for the city.
Negros Occidental earlier requested for a higher quarantine status to curb the spread of COVID-19 but it was denied by the NIATF.
“We have already accepted our situation, if that is the ruling of the NIATF. We have to live with it and do the best we can using our resources and manpower to survive,” Negros Occidental Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said.
Gov. Eugenio Jose Lascon signed Executive Order 21-30 Monday, imposing stringent measures to curb the surge in COVID-19 cases in Negros Occidental.
Diaz said the governor has asked the police to help in the information dissemination on the measures adopted and to enforce them.
The EO sets stricter border controls with Negros Oriental from June 15 to 30.
All beaches, resorts, waterparks and other similar recreational venues in Negros Occidental will also be closed from June 23 to 25 to avoid COVID-19 super spreader activities during the Feast of St. John, the EO said.
Diaz also pointed out that cockfighting, except for Online Sabong, is still prohibited in the province.
Meanwhile, the number of employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Governor’s Office have increased to three, Diaz said.*