Lack of unified COVID-19 policy shows in 2 cities’ handling of stranded people
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The lack of a unified response to COVID-19 is showing in two cities’ contrasting policies on the return of residents stranded by quarantine measures aimed at preventing transmission of SARS Cov2, the virus that causes the disease.
While Oroquieta City has banned the entry of stranded people, Cagayan de Oro City is welcoming them.
Oroquieta Mayor Lemuel Acosta said in an interview that the city’s inter-agency task force on emerging diseases decided to bar stranded residents from entering the city for at least 29 days starting on Jan. 3 in a bid to stop the surge in COVID-19 cases and give city authorities time to prepare quarantine facilities.
As of Jan. 3, Oroquieta has recorded a total of 258 COVID-19 cases with five fatalities and 146 recoveries.
In contrast, Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno vowed he would not turn away any returning residents and ordered the city health office to facilitate and accommodate stranded individuals if villages won’t accept them.
If the villages would refuse to let stranded people in, Moreno said the city health office “will send teams to extract and confine them in the city’s isolation units.”
He said confinement, however, would be only for “those arrivals with COVID-19 symptoms, their close contacts and new index cases.”
Since the national government declared a state of national health emergency aid the pandemic, Moreno has been consistent in allowing the stranded inside Cagayan de Oro, whether residents or not.
This year, he said, the city government would no longer send returning residents straight to isolation facilities unless they showed symptoms of the disease.
He said the city monitored fewer COVID-19 cases among arriving individuals in the last few months.
By limiting admissions in its isolation facilities to only those with symptoms and local patients, the city government hoped to save enough funds to buy vaccines or raise counterpart funding for any allocation from the national government.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.