CEBU CITY, Philippines – Governor Arthur Yap announced on Friday, March 13, that Bohol will be under “community quarantine” from March 16 to 20 even if no confirmed COVID-19 cases have been recorded in the province.
Yap announced in a livestreamed press conference that he signed on Friday morning the executive order on the community quarantine which will take effect at 12:01 am on March 16.
He said the quarantine was meant to better prepare Boholanos in fighting the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
“To help us organize into work teams, we need time to meet and to divide ourselves among the mayors, the local officials, national and local agencies, and civic, business and religious organizations. For that to happen, I am declaring a community quarantine of the island of Bohol within 48 hours of the signing of the EO. That day will be from midnight of Monday, up to Friday,” he said.
Yap clarified that Bohol will be on community quarantine and not on lockdown as those who wish to leave Bohol can do so for the duration of the quarantine period, but the province will not allow the entry of any visitors during that time.
“A lockdown means nobody comes in and out,” he added.
Yap said that the 5-day quarantine will be a a “dry run” to see how prepared the province is for a possible outbreak. As of Friday, Bohol had no confirmed cases but had two persons under investigation (PUIs)
Yap said he had identified two places with a total of 120 beds to accommodate those who need to g into quarantine – the old Tagbilaran airport and the annex in the Bohol Provincial Capital Building.
The Barangay Health Response Teams and the province’s Tarsier 117 emergency response teams will also be on full-alert for reports of anyone needing to be placed under monitoring.
While the quarantine will only last for 5 days, the province may extend it as needed, Yap said.
Yap is the latest local official to declare a quarantine in his area, following President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to put Metro Manila on 30-day lockdown beginning March 15. (READ: Metro Manila to be placed on lockdown due to coronavirus outbreak)
Mayor Kit Nieto has placed Cainta, Rizal – where 3 confirmed COVID-19 cases were recorded – under community quarantine starting March 15.
The resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 Duterte approved on Thursday allows the declaration of province-wide quarantines, but only when there are at least two positive coronavirus cases living in different municipalities, component cities, or independent component cities in the province.
As of March 12, 52 persons were under investigation for possible COVID-19 infection in Central Visayas.
The first case in the region was confirmed in Dumaguete City, a municipal councilor who had returned from a conference in Manila.
The World Health Organization on March 11 called the new coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, issuing a warning that the spread and severity of the illness was due to “alarming levels of inaction.”
The global death toll has reached 4,687 and has spread to 115 countries. – Rappler.com