ECQ is extended

The provincial Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on COVID-19 in Negros Oriental has passed a resolution to extend the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the province.

Details on the ECQ extension period will, however, be announced in the executive order to be issued by Gov. Roel Degamo shortly.

The current ECQ in the province started on April 3, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. until April 18, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., but this will now be extended with the new date to be specified in the executive order.

Members of the IATF here who work in the health industry have strongly pushed for the extension of the ECQ as they still see the risk of the transmission and to further help “flatten the curve” of the COVID-19 cases in the province.

“If we try to look at the cases, there are only a few cases in the province but we should look at it in a wider perspective because as a country, we are one of the contributors in terms of success in preventing the spread of COVID-19, and just for today a total of 200 cases were added nationwide,” said Dr. Mansueto Gumban, president of Negros Oriental Medical Society (NOMS).

Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) Negros Oriental Chapter President Dr. Karen Mae Sayson, meanwhile, said that “we cannot risk further transmission of the virus, and we expect the number of confirmed cases to increase if we lift the ECQ early.”

In an IATF meeting called for by Gov. Roel Degamo to discuss whether to extend the ECQ or not, Gumban asked the multi-agency task force to be aware of the trends of the epidemiological curve of the coronavirus and the capacity of the local healthcare system.

“Our goal here is to prevent loss of lives and prevent local transmissions,” he said.

He added that the IATF “will have to look at this in a wider perspective because if we will decide on our own as a province, we might have an influx of cases since there is still an increase of cases in other areas.”

Although the ECQ calls for strict home quarantine to regulate the movement of the citizens and social distancing, Sayson said she has observed that there are still people and vehicles out on the streets.

It was also raised in the same meeting the constraints in the fight of the virus such as the capability of hospitals, quarantine centers, and healthcare personnel; performance and availability of test kits; social, economic, and security factors, among others.

With this, the governor emphasized that the move to extend the ECQ is to sustain what the province has already done in its fight against the spread of COVID-19. (By JENNY TILOS/PIA7 Negros Oriental)