Fight vs COVID-19 not yet over, warns Dumaguete councilor on Day 1 of relaxed quarantine
DUMAGUETE CITY –– Dumaguete businessman Albert Tecson was surprised to see a restaurant along the boulevard that is frequented by expats doing business-as-usual on the first day of the general community quarantine.
So shocked was he that he took a photo, and posted it on his Facebook wall about the restaurant “bursting with dining-in people.”
“Why were they allowed to offer dine-in services today? So, they are exempted from the general community quarantine?” he asked.
Indeed, things have appeared to return to normal here on the first day of the downgraded status.
“People seem to think that the coronavirus has been eradicated,” said Dumaguete Councilor Michael Bandal, “as if nothing happened and there’s no virus.”
Bandal warned that the fight against COVID-19 was not yet over. “We are not completely safe yet,” he said.
Bandal said that while checkpoints have been pulled out, and the validity of all quarantine passes has been terminated, there are “several enforcers positioned in several areas who will continue to monitor, and remind the people as to the wearing of masks, and social distancing,” Bandal said.
Entry at the public market also remains limited at any given time.
Eleanor Padayhag-Villegas, a real estate lessor, echoed similar sentiments. “I am not for the GCQ because I feel that we have not done adequate tests to determine an accurate status on COVID-19 in our Province.”
She said her household has committed to continue to practice measures under the enhanced community quarantine for their protection.
“Each one should stop thinking about his convenience because everyone should sacrifice at a time like this,” Bandal appealed to the public.
On Thursday, Gov. Roel Degamo said in a meeting of the Negros Oriental Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases that, while the province had four COVID-19 cases, every test conducted after had been negative for the coronavirus.
Dr. Liland Bustamante-Estacion, head of the Provincial Epidemiology Surveillance Unit, confirmed there had been no more reported local transmissions of COVID-19.
She said COVID-related data in the province justifies the transition to a general quarantine.
As of April 28, four persons were tested positive for COVID-19. Of these, two died, one recovered, and the fourth person was scheduled to be discharged from the hospital.
Based on those numbers, the National IATF had categorized Negros Oriental as a moderate risk and downgraded its status to general community quarantine.
Some measures of the GCQ contained in the governor’s Executive Order 2020-29 issued today, May 1, include strict physical distancing, continued washing of hands, and mandatory wearing of masks in public places.
Degamo warned the uniformed personnel not to let their guard down at the provincial boundaries as the neighboring provinces of Cebu and Negros Occidental, he said, continue to register COVID-19 positive cases.
The enforcement agencies, including barangay officials, have been tasked to continue monitoring the movement of people during the general quarantine.
Senior citizens and those aged 20 and below will continue to be prohibited from leaving their homes.
Mass gatherings also continue to be regulated, including cockfights and other forms of gambling, religious activities like masses or worship services, and social functions like parties.
Degamo said the seaports and airports in the province will remain closed.
Construction work can resume, and delivery of supplies and cargoes throughout the province shall remain unhampered.
Public transport, like buses and jeepneys, will be allowed to operate but within Negros Oriental only.
The Provincial E.O. is also ordering all local governments that allow the operation of motor cabs-for-hire to adopt a number-coding scheme to regulate the number of pedicabs on the road on a given day.
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