CEBU Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia has issued a memorandum on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, providing guidelines for local government units (LGUs) across the province on how to enforce home quarantine for Cebuanos arriving from countries with confirmed cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD).
Garcia issued the memorandum in relation to Executive Order No. 5, which she issued on the night of Feb. 3, Monday, ordering the creation of a 2019-nCoV ARD Task Force.
Under the guidelines, LGUs are tasked to create task forces in their respective jurisdictions to monitor any person that had been advised to undergo home quarantine by the Department of Health (DOH).
Garcia is set to release a total of P25.5 million to Cebu’s 51 towns and cities for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks, gloves, alcohol and disinfectants.
Garcia said each LGU will get P500,000 from the Cebu Provincial Treasurer’s Office once they are able to pass a resolution declaring a state of preparedness in their respective areas.
The PPE budget will be taken from Capitol’s calamity fund, Garcia said.
The governor made the announcement in a meeting with the mayors and law enforcement agencies at the Capitol on Thursday.
Garcia said she decided to allocate the funds after she received complaints from mayors in Cebu that they do not have the available funds to acquire PPE.
The 2019-nCoV ARD task force in towns and component cities will be composed of the local chief executives, municipal or city health officers, barangay chiefs and their personnel; social welfare and development officers and their chiefs of police, according to the governor’s memorandum.
Passengers coming from countries with confirmed 2019 nCoV-ARD cases such as China and their territories must undergo screening by the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) upon arrival at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA), the memo further reads.
The screening will determine if the passenger will undergo quarantine at home or in a designated quarantine facility.
Once the BOQ’s personnel decide to send the passenger for home quarantine, they will then inform the mayor of the local government unit to inspect the home of the passenger to check if it is suitable for home quarantine.
The municipal or city social welfare and development officers will then conduct a profiling, monitoring and validation of the passenger to be quarantined and his or her home.
Garcia said validation was necessary to determine if the passenger’s house complied with the conditions stated in EO No. 5 such as: a separate bedroom for the person to be isolated; household members must have PPE available such as gloves and face masks and that household members with an increased risk of complication such as children, the elderly and the sick should not be present at the house of the person to be isolated.
Once the social welfare officer concludes the inspection, he or she will then inform the quarantine team if the passenger’s house has passed or failed the qualifications for home quarantine.
Mayors in Cebu will be required to provide a designated representative that will supply information on the developments of the quarantined passenger to the Province’s Quarantine Team.
If the quarantined person shows any symptoms, he or she will be transfered to designated quarantine facilities such as the Eversley Childs Sanitarium and General Hospital in Mandaue City; Project New Life rehabilitation center in Pinamungajan town and the Women and Children Development Center in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City.
While the quarantined person undergoes the 14-day mandated quarantine period, the local police and village officials will provide 24-hour security at his or her house.
If the quarantined person shows no symptoms, the task force will issue a certificate of completion signaling that he or she has completed the 14-day quarantine period.
The DOH reports there are 29 persons under investigation (PUI) in Central Visayas for the 2019-nCoV ARD. Of the number, 21 are from Cebu, seven in Negros Oriental and one in Bohol.
Meanwhile, two people who recently traveled to China are currently being kept at the Cebu Provincial Women and Children Development Center in Sitio Sudlon, Barangay Lahug in Cebu City after they were ordered to undergo quarantine to determine if they carry symptoms of the 2019-nCoV ARD.
Personnel from the Cebu City Police Office and the Cebu Police Provincial Office have been deployed at the holding facility to ensure that the two complete the 14-day mandatory quarantine period.
- Lt. Junior Grade Michael John Encina, spokesperson for the Philippine Coast Guard Central Visayas, said to protect Cebu’s ports from the spread of the 2019-nCoV ARD, personnel from the Customs, Immigration, Quarantine and Safety (CIQS) will be deployed to check on international marine vessels wanting to dock at the Cebu International Port
If the vessel passes the CIQS’s inspection and its crew underwent the 14-day quarantine period, they will be allowed to dock in Cebu, Encina added.
- Officials of Medellin town, Northern Cebu expressed opposition to the plan of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) to include the Regional Evacuation Center (REC) in Barangay Poblacion evacuation center as one of four holding centers for quarantined passengers from China.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Medellin Mayor Joven Mondigo Jr. said they are against the proposal because the facility is located near the town center and residential areas.
“The center is designated to accomodate evacuees and victims of disasters such as typhoon, earthquake, and fire. It lacks facilities to isolate suspected coronavirus-infected persons and
other communicable diseases,” Mondigo said.
He said they were not consulted about the plan.
Sought for comment, MCIAA General Manager Steve Dicdican said there is “no need to panic and there is even no point of opposing it” since this was just a plan.
“It is just that we are identifying what are the buildings, what are the structures we can possibly use if this escalates,” he said.
“I don’t think they have the complete picture. If you oppose something without knowing the whole picture, maybe it is not time yet to have a strong opinion about it. Let’s just see as the
situation develops,” Dicdican added.
In response to Mondigo’s concerns Gov. Garcia stressed the importance of close coordination especially when it comes disseminating information to the public. Garcia said officials of any
agency or sector should have consulted the 2019-NCov ARD Task Force before deciding to disseminate what they know to the public.
“This is what I mean with “speaking in one voice,” Garcia told reporters.
“I was just surprised that Asturias and Medellin are already being identified not even as quarantine facilities but as holding areas and I don’t know what that means,” Garcia said.
- Despite a recent declaration of a state of emergency at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA), GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC) clarified that all airport operations are normal.
Andrew Harrison, GMCAC Chief Executive Advisor, said with the exception of the temporary travel ban for foreign nationals from China, Hong Kong, and Macau, there are no additional requirements for passengers, airlines, and stakeholders at the airport.
The Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) declared a state of emergency within the MCIA last Monday, Feb. 3.
- Even with the issue on the 2019-NCoV ARD, Gov. Garcia announced that Suroy-Suroy Sugbo will proceed as scheduled on April 25-26. The Camotes Group of Islands in Northwestern Cebu will be the next destination.
Garcia also assured that they will put up measures that will ensure the safety of close to 200 expected participants. (ANV, AYB, JCT, WBS)