BY CARLA P. GOMEZ
Mayor Evelio Leonardia said that in a five-hour consultation with a cross section of the community yesterday, it was agreed that home quarantine passes, border controls, and Sunday lockdowns will be reimposed in Bacolod City to curb the rising spread of COVID-19.
This was a collective decision reached in a city government consultation with different sectors, including Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon, and the business and medical communities following the appeal of the Philippine Society of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID) to place Bacolod under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine for two weeks, he said.
These measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will be imposed following the passage of an ordinance authored by Bacolod Councilor Renecito Novero next week to legalize such moves, the mayor said.
This is our way of locally acting on the spread COVID-19 now as changing quarantine status requires permission from the National Inter-Agency Task Force, he said.
Bacolod City is currently under Modified General Community Quarantine, and the NIATF is expected to announce its new quarantine status on August 31 yet.
Leonardia also issued Executive Order No. 54 extending the 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew in Bacolod City from August 22 to 31.
Meanwhile, former Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez said Leonardia yesterday agreed to Bacolod City’s joining Negros Occidental in its “O-plan: One time, big time”, a comprehensive plan to curb the spread of COVID-19, that is set to be launched today.
The Department of Health reported yesterday 28 new COVID-19 cases in Negros Occidental and 38 in Bacolod City, with two new deaths.
There were also nine new COVID-19 recoveries in Bacolod City yesterday, the DOH said.
Negros Occidental now has 896 COVID-19 cases and seven deaths, while Bacolod City has 651 cases and 17 deaths.
The infectious disease consultants of Bacolod City, in a letter to Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, said the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Bacolod and Negros Occidental deeply concerns the medical community due to current sustained community transmission.
Almost every day, more and more healthcare workers are getting infected with COVID-19, and the capacity of hospitals and quarantine facilities are getting overwhelmed, the doctors wrote.
“We do not want to be out of control like what is happening in the NCR (National Capital Region) and Cebu City,” they said.
They called on city officials to declare a MECQ for two weeks to prevent the extreme spread of the virus and to save lives.
Leonardia thanked Buzon and the clergy of the Diocese of Bacolod for deciding to suspend masses from August 24 to 31 to help reduce the movement of people and slow down the transmission of COVID-19 that can be caused by large gatherings.*