Maguindanao capitol on lockdown
COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao, Philippines — A day after Lanao del Sur closed its government complex in Marawi City, Maguindanao Gov. Mariam Mangudadatu ordered the lockdown of the provincial capitol in Buluan town after several employees tested positive for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Mangudadatu’s move on Tuesday followed the shutdown of the offices of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) here and the municipal hall in Upi town as local health officials warned of rising COVID-19 cases in the province.
Mangudadatu directed all capitol employees to work from home “until further notice,” after three of them tested positive for infection on Monday.
Even before the lockdown, the governor already ordered the disinfection and decontamination of the capitol building from Sept. 7 to Sept. 11 after the employees tested positive in rapid diagnostic tests, according to Nash Imam, head of provincial risk reduction and management office.
Imam said the results of the employees’ swab tests came out on Monday.
Health officials said one employee was exposed to a relative who tested positive while working at the BARMM executive building. Two others who live in Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat province were exposed to a community with increasing number of infections.
Dr. Elizabeth Samama, Maguindanao health director, said more cases had been reported in nearby Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato City. “We encourage everyone to avoid nonessential travels to these areas,” she said.
Maguindanao, as of this week, had recorded 118 COVID-19 cases, with two deaths. At least 23 have remained in isolation.
“We would like to assure the public that all of these confirmed cases are stable and have been admitted in our isolation facilities,” Samama said.
Across the BARMM, the health ministry reported six new infections, raising the total number of cases to 798 with 560 recoveries.
The new cases from Lanao del Sur included Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr. and Malabang Mayor Tomas Macapodi.
Earlier in Maguindanao, Mayor Reynalbert Insular of South Upi ordered the lockdown of the municipal hall after a local official tested positive for COVID-19.
—Edwin O. Fernandez
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