Lawmaker proposes ‘liberation’ of coronavirus-free areas | Inquirer News

Lawmaker proposes ‘liberation’ of coronavirus-free areas

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 04:52 AM April 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Parts of the country that have no coronavirus cases should be “liberated” from quarantine after April 30, while densely populated cities with new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases should remain on lockdown, the chair of the House transportation committee said on Sunday.

Samar Rep. Edgar Sarmiento, who earlier proposed the identification of “COVID-free zones,” called for the lifting of the lockdown in regions with zero or negligible infection rates at the end of the quarantine period.

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Conditions

On the other hand, he said areas with rising COVID-19 cases due to dense populations, especially in Metro Manila, should be placed under full lockdown for another 15 days “or until after the trajectory of the number of cases begins to go down.”

About 95 percent of COVID-19 cases are located in Luzon, while 2 percent are in the Visayas and 3 percent in Mindanao, according to the Visayas congressman.

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Sarmiento suggested a number of conditions for the designation of “COVID-free zones” or “liberated zones,” such as certification by the Department of Health, full compliance with social distancing measures and temperature checks, and daily monitoring.

50% of work force

He said only 50 percent of the work force in government, private offices and commercial establishments should be allowed to report back to duty, subject to rapid testing for “compliance, trial and monitoring purposes.”

If the zero COVID-19 number is maintained, the local government may allow increments of 10 percent per week on the number of employees allowed to return to work in government and private establishments.

Under Sarmiento’s proposal, borders will still be strictly closed “like a colony,” but life within the allowed jurisdiction “goes back to normalcy.”

Only essential goods can come in and out of the COVID-free zones, he said.

COVID-free colonies

After April 30, the end of the lockdown in Luzon, Sarmiento said he expected many areas in the country to have zero to very negligible number of coronavirus infections.

“These areas can be clustered as colonies where the [lockdown] can be lifted,” he said.

“Science tells us that the virus has a 14-day incubation period so I would expect that areas which have been compliant with the [lockdown measures] would have already contained and managed the virus to stop possible transmissions as we are right now on our almost 45th day of lockdown,” Sarmiento said.

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TAGS: coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, Edgar Sarmiento, selective quarantine
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