Sibugay to shift to ‘stricter measures’ amid spike of COVID-19 cases

Sibugay to shift to ‘stricter measures’ amid spike of COVID-19 cases

May 29, 2021 0 By Antonio Manaytay
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After a month under the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ), Zamboanga Sibugay will shift to “stricter measures” starting Monday, May 31 amid surge of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Gov. Wilter Palma signed Wednesday a new executive order placing the entire province under “stricter measures” from May 31 to June 14 to contain the surge.

Zamboanga Sibugay has logged 931 new COVID-19 cases Friday, May 28, an increase of 378 cases from 553 on May 1. The number of deaths due to the disease has reached 29.

In his public address aired over a radio station, Palma said he is not placing the province under lockdown but only on “stricter measures.”

The Department of Health (DOH), he said, does not classify as high-risk.

But there are at least five municipalities the DOH has classified as “high-risk.” These municipalities are Ipil, Buug, Diplahan, Siay, and Tungawan.

Not anti-business

The new order does close businesses except for swimming pools, resorts, Karaoke bars, and other places of entertainment.

Palma said “we don’t want to close business.” Business establishments can continue to operate except those enumerated in the order.

He particularly cited the swimming pools.

Swimming pools, he said in dialect, are not safe saying once the virus gets into the water it can infect people.

The World Health Organization (WHO), however, said water or swimming does not transmit the COVID-19 virus. It spreads when a person gets into close contact with an infected person.

That is why it is necessary to avoid the crowd or maintain at least a meter distance from other people when in public pools or resorts.

Color coding

Working individuals can continue to report to work in-person. But the new order limits the people’s movement except when accessing essential goods or services.

Palma said each local government unit (LGU) will issue one quarantine pass for every household. Each household, according to the new order, can access essential goods for only two days per week.

It is up to the respective LGU to impose color coding for their quarantine pass. This, Palma explained, is to limit the number of people in public places.

The “no face and face shield, no entry” policy remains in place.

No Movement Sunday

The provincial government declares a two-day no movement. That fall on two Sundays, June 6 and 13.

Palma said all residents have to stay in their homes. Businesses can open to conduct cleaning and disinfection but can only do so until 8:30 in the morning.

There are exceptions, however. A person may go outside of his or her home during these two Sundays to secure “health, emergency, and/or frontline services.” Other exceptions include the following: interment or burial, and securing essential goods and services.

Who can go out

Only persons with quarantine pass for each household can go out to access essential goods except for emergencies.

Individuals below 15 years old and those above 65 years old have to stay in their homes. Persons with pre-existing health conditions have also to stay-at-home.

Parents can continue to get the modules of their students on the days they are allowed to go out, Palma said.

The governor hopes the new measures could help contain the spike of COVID-19 cases.

Still way below

He said Zamboanga Sibugay is still way below from achieving herd immunity with the phase of its vaccination program.

At present, over 3,000 individuals have completed their vaccine shots and more than 10,000 individuals have got their first dose.

The number is “very far” from the target of vaccinating at least 70 percent of the population. Zamboanga Sibugay has 633,000 population as of 2015 Census.

Countries with advanced vaccination programs are seeing cases of COVID-19 decline. Hospitalizations have also decreased and early signs of some kind of normality resume.

He urged those who have much to say about the vaccination program to write their suggestions.

Everyone can e-mail their suggestions to zamboanga_sibugay@yahoo.com, Palma said.

PHOTO: Lockdown. Individuals below 15 years old and those above 65 years old have to stay in their homes. Persons with pre-existing health conditions have also to stay-at-home. (Wikimedia Commons)

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