KORONADAL CITY – The city government placed 22 barangays here under general community quarantine (GCQ) and five others under the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) for two weeks effective Monday due to the sharp increase in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in the past several days.
City Mayor Eliordo Ogena said the elevation of the community quarantine status, which was declared through separate executive orders (EO), is “crucial and of high necessity” in the wake of the “sudden and rapid escalation” of confirmed infections in most areas here.
The city recorded 215 new Covid-19 cases in the last three days, bringing its active infections as of Sunday night to 521, the second-highest among the 49 cities and municipalities in Region 12 (Soccsksargen).
The confirmed cases in the area since last year already reached a total of 2,076, with 42 related deaths and 1,514 recoveries.
“We have to do this to protect our people and contain the spread of Covid-19,” the mayor said in a press conference late Sunday afternoon.
Under EO No. 21, Ogena said the entire city, except for five of the 27 barangays, will revert to GCQ until June 21, and with the movement of residents limited to accessing essential goods and services, for work in permitted offices or industries, as well as allowed activities.
He said entertainment and recreational establishments are not permitted to operate while other businesses may continue but on limited capacity and should strictly comply with the minimum health standards.
Restaurants, eateries and other food outlets are only allowed up to 20 percent of their indoor seating capacity and 50 percent for alfresco or outdoors, he said.
Ogena said gatherings in residences should be limited to household members while those allowed outside, including religious activities, are limited to 30 percent of venue capacity.
The city will observe “no movement Sunday” on June 13 and 20, while the odd-even scheme for tricycles, curfew for non-workers from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., liquor ban from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. will be sustained, he said.
The mayor said the five barangays with high Covid-19 cases include Gen. Paulino Santos, Sta. Cruz, Sto. Niño, Zone 3, and Zone 4. They will be under MECQ during the same period based on EO. No. 21-A.
As of Sunday night, Barangay Gen. Paulino Santos has 155 active cases, mostly inmates of the South Cotabato provincial jail. Sto. Niño has 67, Zone 3 has 45, Zone 4 has 44, and Sta. Cruz has 41.
Lawyer Christy Joy Sollesta, city legal officer, said most businesses may continue to operate but with added restrictions based on the MECQ guidelines.
She said restaurants and other food establishments are not allowed to accept dine-in customers while resorts and event places are not permitted to operate.
Non-essential gatherings are prohibited while celebrations for personal milestones such as anniversaries, graduation, birthday, wedding, baptism, and christening should be limited to immediate family members.
Religious gathering and related activities are allowed but restricted to 10 percent of the venue’s seating capacity.
“There is no such thing as total lockdown. The intention (of the EOs) is to limit (the movement of) people but not completely stop them from going out,” Sollesta said. (PNA)