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Why wait to declare GCQ, Negros Occidental not safe now: guv

The criteria sent by from Local Government Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III for Negros Occidental to qualify to be placed under General Community Quarantine.*

Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said he was informed Monday, April 12, that Negros Occidental cannot be placed under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) because its COVID-19 numbers have not reached the required level for that classification.

“But Negros is not safe now…the situation is already alarming and the numbers are rising, why do we have to wait for it to worsen before we can impose GCQ?” he asked.

Negros Occidental is currently under Modified General Community Quarantine. Lacson on Friday asked the national Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to place Negros Occidental under GCQ so more stringent measures can be imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

He, however, clarified that there will be no total lockdown in the province, just granular lockdowns in specific COVID-19 hit areas.

Lacson said a message forwarded to him Monday from Local Government Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said the COVID-19 average daily attack rate (ADAR) in Negros Occidental should be 7 percent and above, and the two week daily growth rate should be 200 percent for it to qualify to be placed under GCQ.

Negros Occidental’s average daily attack rate as of April 8 was 1.97 percent and its two week daily growth rate was 107 percent, which is considered moderate, Densing pointed out.

“Why do we have to wait for 200 percent… Right now we have not reached those numbers and that is precisely what we are avoiding,” Lacson said.

Lacson also said the COVID-19 figures in Negros Occidental are higher than the April 8 figures that were considered by the IATF.

Negros Occidental had 256 new COVID-19 cases for a total of 1,515 active cases on Monday, the Department of Health reported.

Lacson said the province was not granted its request for GCQ but was advised to enforce localized lockdowns, which is already being done. A provincewide curfew from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. began Monday, to limit movement to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Lacson said.

Curfew violators will be warned and held overnight, he said.

“It will not speak well of the Negrense if we willfully violate this curfew. We’re really doing this to try to bring down the COVID-19 active cases,” he said.

“I will venture to say it is not safe in Negros Occidental at the present time, but we can do something about,” he said, and one such measure is through the curfew.

“Let’s do our homework and try to do bring our numbers down,” he said.

He said San Carlos City, which had 290 active COVID-19 cases Monday, is running out of quarantine facilities.

He expects the Department of Education to allow local government units to use of their school buildings as quarantine facilities again, Lacson said.*

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