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Legazpi IATF wants city under MECQ

By Mar Serrano

The Legazpi City Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) wants the city to be placed under a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) status due to a continuous spike in Covid-19 cases.

The city’s IATF chairperson, Mayor Noel Rosal, in an interview on Tuesday, June 22, said they are awaiting the response of the Bicol IATF to their request for an MECQ declaration.

He said they made the request based on the proposal of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) and Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) to place the city under a stricter quarantine status due to the alarming upward trend in infections during the third week of May until June 20.

Legazpi City is currently under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) as declared by Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara.

Rosal said “consultation meeting is still going on with the BIATF and soon as we are given the green light, the city IATF would issue an order declaring the city under MECQ”.

Asked what measures would be undertaken under MECQ, he said aside from stricter health guidelines, they would also intensify and penalize violators of the minimum health standard protocols.

“I ordered the barangay officials to issue citation tickets, to those individuals who are not observing the proper health protocols such as wearing of face masks, face shields, and social distancing outside residents,” he said.

Rosal said under MECQ, a liquor ban and curfew hours from 11:00 PM to 4:00 AM would also be enforced.

The city would continue to establish tighter village checkpoints, as well as set up granular lockdowns in houses, compounds, establishments, and villages considered as high risk for Covid-19, he added.

The mayor noted that one of the causes of the surge in cases in the city is the poor lockdown procedures in national government agencies with offices based here.

Rosal said the Palace had earlier issued Memorandum Circular 86 removing the authority of local government units to place on lockdown national government offices and banks.

“Our city Covid-19 tracker indicates that currently, the people infected by the virus are mostly workers from national agencies, such as the Department of Education, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Public Works and Highways, Government Service Insurance System, Home Development Mutual Fund, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Land Bank (of the Philippines),” he said.

“Sad to say that people transacting with these national agencies are kind of super-spreaders of the virus,” Rosal said, noting that “ almost all national government agencies are based here since the city had been declared as the government regional center site in the region”.

As of Sunday, June 20, the city has logged 1,621 cumulative cases since March last year. There are 895 currently active cases, 700 recoveries and 26 deaths. (PNA)

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