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For two months, Metro Manila has been under enhanced community quarantine due to the growing number of confirmed cases of COVID-19. While the two-month quarantine period has kept many safe in their homes, the whole Philippines still has a long way to go in terms of flattening the curve and preventing the further spread of the novel coronavirus in the future.
With this, 20 areas in five barangays in Quezon City have been put under a “special concern” lockdown for 14 days, starting at 5 AM last Wednesday, May 13, up to May 26 due to their high number of COVID-19 cases.
The five barangays currently placed under the special concern lockdown are:
- Bahay Toro
- Sito Militar
- Vargas Compound-Adelfa
- Metro Heights-Abanay
- Ancop Canada
- Batasan Hills
- 318 Dakila Street
- 2nd Alley Kalayaan B
- Masbate Street
- Victory Avenue
- ROTC Hunters
- BMA Avenue
- Agno Street
- Lower Gulod
These areas have the most critical cases of COVID-19 and the most active cases of patients who have yet to recover, which called for a special lockdown for 14 days. The areas were selected by the Quezon City Health Department according to the number of community testings made, said QC Assistant Administrator for Operations Alberto Kimpo in an interview.
Areas under extended enhanced community quarantine (EECQ) and the special concern lockdown are urged to follow social distancing, proper hygiene and disinfecting. Citizens of Quezon City are also advised to stay home and refrain from going outside unless necessary.
Other Areas in QC Being Monitored
Quezon City, along with the rest of NCR, transitioned to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) starting on May 16. However, part of the local government’s effort to fine-tune their response to COVID-19 is to enforce EECQ on 34 out of the 142 barangays in Quezon City, where there are at least two confirmed cases. The Quezon City local government said that other areas in QC might be added to the special concern lockdown list, especially high-density places with snowballing confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Kimpo mentioned in his statement that they are continuously surveying these areas where proper quarantine etiquette isn’t followed and where the possibility of getting others infected is high. Examples are compounds and blocks, especially since there are asymptomatic people that may spread the disease further.
Quarantine Officers Called in
In response to the 14-day special lockdown, a team of quarantine officers comprised of health department officials, the local police, and the military has been called in to monitor and ensure that quarantine protocols are observed within these areas.
The group includes 200 members of the Quezon City Police District, Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Special Action Force, as well as 73 police officers from the Quezon City Police District who were tasked to ensure strict adherence to the lockdown in affected areas.
All members of the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region will undergo training on the process of implementing quarantine rules and monitoring of confirmed and possible cases of COVID-19, said Quezon City Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (QC-ESU) head Dr. Rolly Cruz. He said that they will conduct heightened testing and stricter monitoring to achieve a coronavirus-free Quezon City after 14 days.
Food and Relief Goods to be Provided by the LGU
Other than appointing quarantine officers to establish rigorous monitoring and implementation of lockdown protocols, Mayor Joy Belmonte said that food and other relief goods will be provided to those living in the affected areas.
Mayor Belmonte also addressed the issue of the mishandling of the cash aid to be supposedly distributed to over 377,000 beneficiaries under the first portion of the government’s social amelioration program. She said that any barangay official caught mishandling fund aids will be held accountable to avoid any mishaps and issues during the distribution of the second portion of the cash assistance.
With Metro Manila and other selected areas under MECQ, it is still crucial to observe proper hand-washing, physical social distancing, and adherence to curfew hours during the quarantine period. Now more than ever, staying safe and following the rules in your area will help speed up the process of achieving a COVID-19-free Philippines.