LAOAG CITY – The city of Batac and eight other towns in Ilocos Norte will be under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) starting Friday (July 23) until further notice to address its increasing cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
The return of more than half of Ilocos Norte’s population to stricter quarantine measures has been imposed to limit the movement of people particularly in areas with high risk of infection such as in Batac and the towns of Bangui, Dingras, Dumalneg, Marcos, Pagudpud, Paoay, Pasuquin and Solsona.
Prior to the declaration, Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc said in a statement released on Wednesday evening that he had already discussed with concerned mayors the planned imposition of heightened quarantine protocols over the past few weeks.
He likewise ordered concerned authorities to ensure that violators will be slapped with a penalty ranging from PHP1,000 to PHP5,000 or its equivalent community service depending on the severity of the offense, in case the violator has no means to pay the fine.
“The Philippine National Police is hereby directed to lead in strictly monitoring compliance of the foregoing provisions, to be assisted by barangay personnel and other law enforcement agencies,” Manotoc said.
The governor likewise ordered a provincial curfew and liquor ban from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. except for essential workers during their official duties.
Under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), residents who are below 18 years old and over 65 years old, persons with comorbidities and with disabilities, and pregnant women are prohibited from going out except when obtaining essential goods or for work in allowed offices and industries.
While mass gathering is not allowed, a 30 percent seating capacity of the venue is allowed for religious gathering, 20 percent for dine-in establishments, and 50 percent or skeletal workforce in government offices.
For transportation, only one passenger is allowed for tricycle, two passengers for taxi and maximum of 50 percent seating capacity for jeepneys.
Meanwhile, Laoag City, which has been earlier placed under MECQ since July 10, has shown a notable improvement as border checkpoints were in place including ban on social gatherings such as birthdays, reunions and anniversaries.
“The MECQ will only work when all residents will make it work also. It is not only quarantine that is important. It goes down to the grassroots, to the people, and to its implementation,” the governor said in a press conference.
Following the arrival of more than 35,000 doses of vaccines from the Department of Health on Thursday, the provincial government-led mega vaccination site inside the Divine Word College of Laoag resumed its operation today to vaccinate more senior citizens and overseas Filipino workers who are scheduled to leave the country.
Another mass vaccination is also being rolled out by the city government of Laoag at the Laoag City General Hospital targeting 1,000 recipients composed of medical front-liners, senior citizens, persons with comorbidities, persons with disabilities, and uniformed personnel. (PNA)