Bohol imposes 5-day community quarantine

THE Bohol Provincial Government will place the entire province on a community quarantine and will not be accepting visitors from outside Bohol starting midnight of Monday, March 16 until Friday, March 20, 2020.

The announcement was made through a post on Bohol’s official Facebook page.

Gov. Arthur Yap, however, clarified the community quarantine should not be likened to a “lockdown” as necessary day-to- day operations in the province will still continue.

“It is not a lockdown because food is allowed to come in; medicine is allowed to come in. People can leave Bohol; deliveries will continue to take place. So it is not a lock down. People are allowed out of their homes as they can still go to church, market or hospital,” Yap said.

“But should our students who are studying outside Bohol decide to come home from Monday to Friday, No. I’m sorry (but) you cannot come home,” he added in Cebuano.

He said prior consultations were made among their civic leaders, medical officials and practitioners.

Yap said Bohol “needs to do more” in preparing for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and they will not be able to do it unless they have a focused community quarantine program.

Bohol is home to around 1.3 million people. It consists of one component city and 47 municipalities.

On Thursday night, March 12, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that Metro Manila will be placed under a community quarantine for 30 days in a bid to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, which causes Covid-19.

When the quarantine takes effect on March 15, no land, domestic air and domestic sea travel will be allowed to and from Metro Manila.

New cases

Twelve new Covid-19 cases were recorded by the Department of Health (DOH) on Friday night, March 13, bringing the country’s total to 64.

“For those who are confirmed cases, please let our hospitals take care of you. Studies show that chances of recovery are high. Let us take it upon ourselves to protect our family and our community’s health and well-being,” DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement. (See Page 8 for the full list of patients.)

Later in the evening, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go announced that he and President Rodrigo Duterte had tested negative for the novel coronavirus. During a March 5 event, they had both been exposed to a person who later tested postive for the virus.

In Cebu, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said there will be no community quarantine unless the situation calls for it.

“Though that would be the most tempting at this point, first of all we do not qualify, thank God, under the IATF’s (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) resolution,” Garcia said on Friday, March 13, 2020.

The President announced that local government units (LGUs) outside Metro Manila may also impose a localized community quarantine based on the guidelines issued by the IATF in a resolution that it passed Thursday.

In its resolution, the task force said a province-wide quarantine is advised when there are at least two positive Covid-19 cases from different towns within the province.

“Second of all, we really need to weigh the consequences of declaring community quarantine because if we are to strictly implement a community quarantine, that really means no ingress and no egress, including those who are living here,” Garcia said.

Garcia said a community quarantine will have dire effects on the local economy and the people’s way of life, among others.

A community quarantine, though, may be declared should a positive case for the Covid-19 be reported in the province.

“I will not hesitate should the situation warrant. As of now, what we are trying to do is to implement mitigating measures and very, very strict protocols, especially when you see that everybody is on board here. Everybody is cooperating,” Garcia said.

Cebuanos from Manila

The governor met with officials of pharmaceutical firms, shipping companies, airline operators, supermarkets, the Department of Trade and Industry 7, National Food Authority, Philippine National Police Office, Department of Health and the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) to discuss protocols that will be carried out on the return of Cebuanos from Manila.

Representatives of Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines and Air Asia said about 10 to 15 flights to and from Manila are recorded daily.

Around 10,000 to 12,000 passengers are expected to arrive in Cebu before the community quarantine in Metro Manila takes effect on Monday, March 16.

During the meeting, it was agreed that all arriving passengers will be subjected to a temperature check through a thermal scanner.

A person whose temperature is at 37.5 degrees Celsius will be isolated in the facility prepared by the BOQ at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).

They will then be taken to the nearest quarantine facility in the province aboard an ambulance.

Passengers with temperatures at normal rates ranging from 36 to 37 degrees Celsius are advised to undergo self-quarantine.

Among those who had to undergo a thermal scan were passengers who arrived at the MCIA aboard a 5:30 p.m. flight via Legaspi, Albay and Clark, Pampanga.

Passengers aboard a ship from Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental also had their temperatures checked. Meanwhile, a 2Go sea vessel from Manila is expected to arrive at 8 a.m. Saturday, March 14.

The BOQ and the Cebu Ports Authority, though, assured that food products such as canned goods will remain available for the public as the community quarantine in Metro Manila will not affect the transport of goods. (WBS, JJL, TPM, RTF)