SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique – The Antique provincial government is carrying out a 15-day “courtesy lockdown” effective Monday in all its 18 municipalities as a measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“Courtesy lockdown” is the provincial government’s way of discouraging the people to go out in their municipalities for the next two weeks or from April 5 to 19,” Antique Governor Rhodora J. Cadiao said in a virtual press conference on Monday.
Cadiao, in her Executive Order on Monday afternoon, said that under the courtesy lockdown, checkpoints manned by the police, traffic enforcers, and barangay officials would just urge the people not to go out of their municipalities unless they have very important needs or transactions like purchasing medicines or food supply.
“Since we are under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) and we are still under the ‘One Western Visayas’ quarantine, we cannot implement the border restriction,” she said.
Cadiao added the border restriction, which the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force (PIATF) on Covid-19 had proposed last April 3 to be implemented because of the surge of the Covid-19 cases in Antique, was not approved by the Regional IATF, hence they opted for the courtesy lockdown in municipalities.
“Those manning at the checkpoints, aside from discouraging people to travel outside their municipalities, will also be checking on the face masks, face shields and will have thermal scanners for the body temperature of the passengers,” she said.
Residents will be discouraged to go outside of their respective municipalities and the province within the next two weeks. Those coming from Iloilo and Aklan are also being discouraged to visit Antique from April 5 to 19, Cadiao said.
She added that the Antique airport and ports operation are also suspended for the next two weeks to prevent people from traveling to the province.
Amid the implementation of the courtesy lockdown, the deliveries of food supply and other essential goods in the province will remain unhampered.
“We will not be very restrictive on delivery of food supplies and other essential goods,” she said.
The delivery vans coming from Iloilo City or Aklan province will still be allowed to pass through checkpoints to ensure that there will still be enough food supplies in the local stores and markets.
Cadiao said the province used to only have one to three confirmed cases with none even on other days since the start of the pandemic until March 11, 2021 when a senior citizen joined a derby in a cockpit here and got exposed to the crowd inside the arena.
The senior citizen, who later sought treatment at the Angel Salazar Memorial General Hospital (ASMGH) and was confirmed to have Covid-19 through his swab test, died last March 15.
“The Covid-19 was a super spreader that is why the province of Antique is now in this situation,” Cadiao said.
Based on the report of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) as of April 4, Antique has 130 active cases, most were infected inside the San Jose de Buenavista cockpit. The province also has 134 recoveries and seven deaths.
IPHO Information Officer Irene Dulduco, in a separate interview, said that they cannot give the exact number of people who were contaminated from the cockpit.
“We cannot really tell the exact number of people who were contaminated from the cockpit but because they were not strictly observing the health protocols that is why many of them became Covid-19 confirmed cases,” she said. (PNA)