Granular lockdowns, testing to be enforced in COVID-19-affected Negros Occidental areas
BACOLOD CITY –– Granular lockdowns in areas severely affected by the coronavirus and more testing will be implemented here and in Negros Occidental to slow down the spread of the virus.
More doctors and nurses will also be deployed in the city and province to relieve pressure on overwhelmed health workers in hospitals, said Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino, who, along with Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and retired general Mel Feliciano, arrived in Bacolod on Wednesday to help bring down the number of infections.
“We are here to assess what is needed. We want the people of Negros to feel that the national government is very concerned about the situation and is very serious in helping the area,” Dino told the Inquirer.
To make sure people will strictly observe the health protocols such as wearing face masks and practicing physical distancing, soldiers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Central Command will be sent to Bacolod and Negros Occidental.
Dino said the number of COVID-19 cases in the city and province could be reduced by instilling self-discipline among the people.
“No matter how many COVID-19 hospital beds and health personnel are added, without discipline down to the barangay and sitio level, nothing will happen,” Dino said.
He said Cimatu’s team was evaluating whether or not to bring Bacolod back to enhanced community quarantine.
Bacolod, which is under a more relaxed modified general community quarantine, has been marred by a surge in the number of COVID-19 patients, which has overwhelmed all its hospitals in the past weeks.
This prompted Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia to seek the help of President Duterte, who immediately sent Cimatu and his team to the city.
Dino said Bacolod’s present problem was similar to what Cebu City experienced in June when the rising number of coronavirus cases filled hospitals beyond capacity.
He said Cimatu planned to replicate what was done in Cebu City to bring down the number of infections in Bacolod as quickly as possible.
“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel because we have already done it in Cebu, which is right now the model of how to fight the COVID-19,” Dino said.
Since Cebu City presently has low cases of the virus, Dino said its laboratories could accommodate swab samples from Bacolod.
Dino said he, Cimatu, and Feliciano met with Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson and Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia to map out strategies to contain the virus.
“We will be talking from now on to discuss how we can coordinate, support, and help,” he said.
As of Aug. 24, Negros Occidental had recorded 966 cases of COVID-19. Bacolod had 749.
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