PAMPANGA, Philippines – The mayor of Concepcion in Tarlac placed his entire town under 36-hour total lockdown on Thursday, July 23, after 6 family members of a coronavirus patient were found to have contracted the virus as well.
Through Executive Order (EO) No. 31, Mayor Andres Lacson said that only authorized persons, such as frontliners, are allowed to go out of their respective residences.
“I, Andres Lacson, Municipal Mayor, by virtue of the power vested in me by law, do hereby declare TOTAL LOCKDOWN in the Municipality of Concepcion starting 5 pm of July 23, 2020 (Thursday) and will end at 5 am of July 25, 2020 (Saturday),” he said in the order.
Within the lockdown period, all business establishments, except for pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centers, water refilling stations, and gasoline stations, are not allowed to open and operate.
The mayor also imposed a total liquor ban – nobody is allowed to sell, buy, and consume alcoholic beverages during the lockdown.
“All Travel Passes issued for July 23 and 24, 2020 are hereby revoked,” the EO also stated.
In an advisory on its official Facebook page on Thursday afternoon, the Concepcion municipal government emphasized that no one will be allowed to enter and leave the town for 36 hours and advised those working in other localities to file for leave of absence.
“Ibig sabihin, lahat ng mamamayan ng Concepcion ay HINDI makakalabas ng Munisipalidad at WALA ring makakapasok na manggagaling sa ibang lugar. Pinapayuhan ang mga trabahante na nagtatrabaho sa ibang bayan na mag-file na ng Leave of Absence para bukas (July 24),” it said.
Lacson, who posted a video on Facebook, said he opted to declare the total lockdown after 6 of the 10 family members of a Pagcor casino employee, who tested positive for COVID-19 on July 16 with two other employees, were also found to be positive for the viral disease through reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.
All of them live in the same house in Barangay Santo Cristo in Concepcion town.
Two of the positive cases were admitted to a private hospital because they showed coronavirus symptoms, while the other 4 were asymptomatic and brought to the government quarantine facility at New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.
Lacson said his declaration to place the entire town under total lockdown was based on the recommendations of rural health doctors, with approval by the provincial COVID-19 task force led by Tarlac Governor Susan Yap. He said all persons who had contact with the coronavirus patients will be summoned and subjected to rapid and RT-PCR tests.
The mayor asked his constituents to just pray for the recovery of the coronavirus patients and to not resort to any form of discrimination against them.
The people of Concepcion had mixed reactions to the total lockdown, which some described as too sudden.
“What will happen to our family members who are still at work? Will they be allowed entry to our town after 5 pm today?” one asked in the vernacular.
The municipal government did not reply to the question and other similar questions.
Another posted that people had resorted to panic buying upon learning of the lockdown. She said that the town proper was filled with people buying basic needs and that grocery stores were teeming with long queues.
As of July 23, Tarlac recorded 67 confirmed coronavirus cases in the province. On the same day, the Philippines recorded 2,000 new cases overall, bringing the total to 74,390. – Rappler.com