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‘Negros Occidental not safe right now’

BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

It is not safe in Negros Occidental at this time, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said yesterday after noting that the increase in Covid-19 cases have been in triple digits in the past four days.

The Provincial Incident Management Team reported that Negros Occidental had 1,335 active cases, as of April 11, excluding the 456 active infections logged in Bacolod City.

This developed as Iloilo City and Iloilo Province already signified intentions to close their borders with Negros Occidental.

Lacson said he raised no objections to the plans of Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. and Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas to close their borders with Negros Occidental, saying that he understands their sentiments.

“Do what you think is good for your constituents” Lacson told Defensor, who called him up yesterday to relay his intention.

“We should not look at it negatively. I might also do the same thing if only to protect our constituents,” he added.

Dr. Mary Jane Juanicio, Department of Health-6 head of Infectious Diseases Cluster, said they noted an average of 50 cases per day in the first months of 2021, but this increased to 80 cases in March, and to 210 cases in average per day in the past 11 days of April, mostly in Negros Occidental.

While waiting for the approval of the national Inter-Agency Task Force on the recommendation of the regional IATF to place Negros Occidental under the General Community Quarantine status, Lacson said that the 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew hours will be enforced, and arrested violators will be penalized by making them stay overnight in a certain area.

Negros Occidental remains under the Modified GCQ, as of this time.

Lacson said he got information that the IATF has not yet taken up his request, since it was still being studied by IATF deputies before its deliberation as a whole.

GRANULAR LOCKDOWNS

With quarantine facilities now almost full in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, Lacson said that Mayor Renato Gustilo is requesting the Department of Education to allow them the use of schools as isolation centers for Covid patients.

As of April 11, San Carlos City had the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the province, with 230 active infections, followed by Kabankalan City – 118, and Cadiz City – 117.

Granular lockdowns have already been enforced by some local government units to contain the spread of the virus, Lacson said. He assured Negrenses that there will be no total lockdown, like under the Enhanced Community Quarantine, adding, “Our economy cannot afford that.”*

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