BY CARLA P. GOMEZ
A 4-day “time-out no movement period” in Bacolod City starting tomorrow until Monday is subject to official approval by the National Inter-Agency Task Force, Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said last night.
An official copy of the NIATF approval of the 4-day lockdown was still being awaited last night, he said.
Mass testing for COVID-19 will push through tomorrow and Saturday in 14 testing centers in Bacolod City, an advisory from Leonardia’s office said yesterday afternoon.
Provincial economic adviser, Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, said 5,000 COVID-19 tests will be conducted in Bacolod City, and 5,000 others in Bago, Silay and Talisay cities and Murcia town in Negros Occidental.
Benitez last night said the four-day lockdown was approved by the regional IATF, but a copy of the national approval was being awaited.
Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, Michael Lloyd Dino, yesterday assured that any overflow in the swab specimens that cannot be handled by laboratories in Bacolod City can be tested in Cebu, which he will facilitate.
The city advisory said 5,000 Bacolod residents who meet Department of Health guidelines on testing priority will be covered. The barangays will handle initial identification of those to be tested to be confirmed by the City Health Office.
The advisory also said there will be a “time-out no movement period” in Bacolod City starting tomorrow to Monday.
During these four days, everyone will be required to stay home. Only those who will be granted special exemptions can move around, and exit and enter the city, the advisory said.
An executive order will be issued on who will be covered by this exemption as well as businesses that will be allowed to open, as the city is still awaiting the resolution of the NIATF approving this 4-day “lockdown,” which resolution is forthcoming, per media announcement of Benitez, organizer of the mass testing program for the province and the city, it added.
In the meantime, all concerned are encouraged to be ready to stay home for four days, the advisory said.
Mayor Nicholas Yulo yesterday signed Executive Order No. 53, adopting a comprehensive Covid-19 testing program in Bago City.
The EO sets restrictions on the movement of persons and transportation within and going into Bago City on Sunday and Monday.
All public markets and businesses will be close except for food or non-food essentials, and public transportation will be suspended except for emergency purposes, it added.*