The Pangasinan provincial government has asked the National Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) for a two-step quarantine upgrade after its number of active COVID-19 cases breached the 3,000-mark on Sunday, August 29.
The Provincial Health Office reported 239 new cases, bringing the number of active cases to 3,195. The province also recorded 58 new deaths, bringing the number of total deaths to 703.
Dagupan City, the provincial center, also reported its first Delta variant case, a 35-year-old returning overseas Filipino (ROF).
Governor Amado I. Espino III said he asked the IATF on Friday, August 27, to raise the province’s quarantine classification from Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) to GCQ with heightened restrictions, starting September 1.
He said the IATF has to act on the proposal.
The provincial government reimplemented its six-day flexi work schedule starting Monday, August 30, to lower the number of staff in offices. Each office under the provincial government has adopted alternate schedules for employees, maintaining at least 50% staff every workday.
Offices will be open from Monday to Saturday, 8 am to 5 pm. The capitol also set a schedule for business transactions: Monday to Wednesday – for clients coming from Districts 1, 2 and 3; and Thursday to Saturday – for clients coming from Districts 4, 5, and 6.
Espino urged local government units to implement emergency measures to address the COVID-19 surge in the province.
The Dagupan health office said the first Delta case arrived in the Philippines on July 25, and was subjected to quarantine. He tested positive after taking an RT-PCR test on July 31.
He was sent to Dagupan on August 11 but was placed under isolation until August 18. Results from the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) came out on August 27.
Local health officials subjected the ROF and his immediate family to new RT-PCR swab tests on Monday, August 30.
Dagupan has 316 active cases. Adjacent town Calasiao has 239 active cases. The province has recorded 19,699 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic reached the country in early 2020. – Rappler.com
Ahikam Pasion is a Luzon-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship