ILOILO CITY – The local government of Malay will impose stricter quarantine measures in two of its barangays on Boracay Island starting Thursday noon until midnight of April 14 to stem the surge of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases.
Executive Order (EO) No. 13 released by the municipal government on Wednesday night placed the entire Barangay Balabag under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and surgical lockdown for Zones 1 and 7 of Barangay Manocmanoc.
Malay Mayor Frolibar Bautista, in a follow-up interview, said 24 of the 116 test results released on Wednesday turned positive. Ten were from Balabag and 14 from Manocmanoc.
“We previously placed on lockdown two zones of Barangay Balabag. But with additional cases in other zones we decided to lock down the entire barangay,” he said.
The local government issued Executive Order No. 28 placing Zones 5 and 6 of Barangay Balabag under surgical lockdown on March 28 until midnight of April 10.
As of March 31, report from the Malay Inter-Agency Task Force Case Bulletin showed Balabag has 46 active cases and Manocmanoc with 27.
The cases from Balabag were from Zones 5 and 6 with 20 each, Zone 1 has three, Zone 3 has two, and one from Zone 7.
In Manocmanoc, the active cases were from Zone 9 with nine; Zone 7 with eight; Zone 4, five; Zone 2, three; and one each in Zones 3 and 6.
The mayor said that they identified a tourist from Luzon who visited a friend in Boracay Island on March 10 as the source of the virus. The tourist left Boracay on March 13 and was tested positive for Covid-19 on March 16.
However, the visitor failed to inform the close contact in Boracay who also manifested symptoms and was brought to the hospital on March 23.
Immediately the close contact called their visitor and learned that their guest was also Covid-19 positive.
“In a span of one week there were a lot of close contacts,” the mayor said, adding that the tourist attended a party on the island, hence there were partygoers who got exposed.
Nonetheless, Bautista said that they have already tested up to the low-risk contacts.
The last group of 20 individuals was tested on March 31.
The mayor said that all the confirmed cases from Boracay have been pulled out from the island as per their protocol and quarantined either in mainland Malay or in the municipality of Kalibo.
Meantime, in an advisory released on March 28, affected tourists are advised to observe limited movement until they are provided with a quarantine pass by the barangay.
Incoming tourists with booking in accommodation establishments are to transfer to establishments accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT) outside the affected area.
The advisory added that under Section 2, No. 14 of the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines of the National Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), the movement of cargo vehicles within the affected area shall be unhampered.
The main road along the affected area shall still be accessible to motorists.
All persons, whether natural or juridical, shall abide by the same limitations and guidelines on enhanced community quarantine as stated in Section 2 of the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines of the National IATF-EID.
Further, only individuals considered by the IATF-EID as Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APORs) are allowed to leave their respective residences in the affected areas.
Except those qualified as APORs, no other person, except for emergency cases, shall be allowed to leave their residence and no person shall also be allowed to enter the affected area.
Relief packs will also be distributed to affected households.
Meanwhile, Bautista said there are still tourists from Western Visayas who will visit Boracay this Lenten season as travel restrictions were imposed for tourists coming from the National Capital Region and areas where Covid-19 cases are high.
He added though that they always make sure that all tourists have negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results. (PNA)