GENERAL SANTOS CITY – South Cotabato officials are pushing for the restoration of the quarantine protocol for travelers and the implementation of stricter preventive measures in the wake of the surge in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.
Governor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. said Monday they are working on imposing anew the mandatory seven-day quarantine in a government facility and another seven days of home isolation for all travelers and returning residents.
He said the local government is currently waiting for the approval of the national Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to implement the measure.
Tamayo said the move, which was proposed by the province’s Covid-19 steering committee, is aimed to prevent the possible entry and spread to the area of the highly contagious coronavirus variants.
He said they are very much concerned with the rapid increase of infections in the National Capital Region and the neighboring areas that already affected the health systems.
“We’re finding ways to protect ourselves here because normally when a surge hits Luzon, there’s a chance that it will also hit Visayas and Mindanao after two months,” he said in his weekly radio program.
The governor said he ordered a review of the province’s ordinances and other related issuances on Covid-19 to check for possible gaps and set additional measures to strengthen their implementation
He said this includes the possible imposition of fines and penalties against individuals breaching the quarantine protocols or going out in public while still under the prescribed monitoring period.
Penalties are also being considered for those not properly observing the minimum health standards in public places and establishments, especially the wearing of face masks and face shields, and the observance of safe physical distancing.
“We’re hoping to complete this (review) within the week and then possibly request for the passage on an urgent ordinance,” he said.
In the meantime, Tamayo urged residents to continually comply with the health protocols and measures, especially on the holding of mass gatherings.
He said the province remains under the modified general community quarantine and all gatherings, including religious services, are only allowed at 50 percent capacity of the venue.
Residents should immediately report possible violators to barangay officials or the provincial government if necessary.
As of Sunday night, the Integrated Provincial Health Office already recorded a total of 1,765 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the area since March last year, with 59 related deaths and 1,646 recoveries.
The active cases are currently at 70, with five listed as new infections, and with 35 or 50 percent having mild symptoms, 23 or 40 percent are asymptomatic, two or nine percent are classified as moderate while one is considered severe. (PNA)