Bichara puts Albay in GCQ

By Mar S. Arguelles


ALBAY Gov. Al Francis Bichara on Monday, June 7, has placed almost all towns and cities in Albay under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) due to the continuous surge of Covid-19 cases in the province.


Bichara issued Executive Order (EO) No. 16 placing the 13 towns and three cities in Albay under GCQ. EO 16 amended EO 14 earlier issued on May 31, this year placing Legazpi City and the neighboring town of Daraga under a stricter quarantine category.


Albay’s 15 towns and three cities were considered earlier by the DOH risk assessment as moderate risk area for Covid-19 and was placed under Modified General Quarantine (MGCQ) but due to the current surge in cases, it was deemed to be a high risk and thus placed under GCQ.


The new order however exempted the towns of Jovellar and Rapu-Rapu from the GCQ classification apparently due to the low number of cases recorded in these areas.


Bichara based his directive on the latest report of the Department of Health (DOH) Bicol citing that Covid-19 cases in the entire province continue to increase.


Bichara, who is also the chairperson of the Albay Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF), in consultation with the Bicol IATF, placed the towns and cities under GCQ until June 15 only.


The order directed all local government units (LGUs) to set up and implement tighter health protocols and guidelines to curb the spread of the virus.


Under the GCQ, stricter health protocols would be enforced, such as limited movement of persons except in accessing essential goods and services and person below 18 years of age and those over 65 years of age and persons with comorbidities, and pregnant women are required to stay at home except in buying essential goods and services.


All mass gathering such as, but not limited to, religious gatherings, neurological services, and visits to memorial parks, including operation of all tourist destinations, are reduced to a maximum of 30 percent capacity.


Bichara’s order also allows LGUs to impose curfew if necessary.


A 50/50 split between work-from-home and on-site capacity is to be allowed for public and private establishments.