South Cotabato restricts entry even of medical workers
KORONADAL CITY—South Cotabato has imposed more stringent community quarantine measures after a patient in nearby Sultan Kudarat province tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection.
The province was earlier sealed off from nonresidents and visitors, with the exception of those bringing in food and essential consumer supplies, and health workers.
But beginning Friday, March 27, Governor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. has restricted the entry of even medical frontliners, except if they agree on a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Tamayo admits that his order was conditioned by the existence of a COVID-19 just next door, in Sultan Kudarat, and a person under investigation (PUI) in adjoining General Santos City.
“We cannot sacrifice the one million residents of South Cotabato against the few who are insisting to enter the province. This is the only drastic measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease, a deadly invisible enemy,” Tamayo said.
Owing to the stricter implementation of the lockdown now after it was imposed seven days ago, Tamayo noted that several powerful persons have called him to allow them or their relatives entry to the province.
He said the province is “reaping the initial fruits” of the lockdown with the identification of PUIs and persons under monitoring (PUMs) across the province.
This makes contract tracing of suspected COVID-19 cases easier for our health workers, Tamayo noted.
He urged those seeking medical services outside of the province to get treatment from medical facilities in South Cotabato.
If that is not possible, they would be allowed to get back to the province but they will be strictly quarantined, Tamayo said.
Dr. Rogelio Aturdido, South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office chief, said the stringent lockdown measures are essential for the public’s health and called on the residents to follow the orders of the provincial government.
“Please stay home to help us fight this coronavirus disease,” Aturdido said.
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