Tacloban City–The local government will enforce a 23-day lockdown in this city, Eastern Visayas’ regional capital, in the face of rising threats of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Mayor Alfred Romualdez issued on Wednesday night Executive Order 2020-03-017 intensifying the restrictions to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 in the city, home to about 250,000 people and a major commercial district of the region.
The directive will take effect from March 21 to April 12, affecting public transportation and thousands of businesses in the city.
“Upon effectivity of this Executive Order, all public utility vehicles operating outside Tacloban City and offering transport services to passengers shall no longer be allowed to enter the city,” Romualdez said in his order signed late Wednesday night.
Public transport within the city will be allowed to continue operating “provided that they will only transport passengers at half capacity to observe social distancing.”
The city government also prohibits all land, sea, and air travel of persons to and from the city, except health workers, persons availing of emergency medical services, national government workers, goods delivery service providers and media practitioners.
“We encourage regional offices of national government agencies based in Tacloban to create their own policies, such as skeletal workforce, work from home, compressed workweek, and staggered working hours to minimize the movements of their employees,” City Administrator Aldrin Quebec said in a press briefing on the same night.
The directive also suspends the operation of businesses in the city except for hospitals, basic utility providers, take-out orders in restaurants, grocery stores, laundry services, water refilling stations, banks, remittance centers, gasoline stations, courier service, and funeral parlors.
The class suspension has been extended until April 12.
“Our appeal to the city’s 138 village officials is to cooperate or face sanctions for not implementing these restrictions,” said Ildebrando Bernadas, chief of Tacloban City’s disaster risk reduction and management office.
City health officer Gloria Fabrigas asked community leaders to be more proactive by ensuring that patients under investigation (PUIs) and persons under monitoring (PUMs) in their areas follow the health protocols.
“Village officials should make sure that social distancing is strictly observed to curb the transmission of Covid-19,” Fabrigas told reporters.
As of Wednesday, the city has 15 PUIs, six of whom are confined in a hospital and nine under strict home quarantine, it also has 1,379 PUMs.
Local authorities are still waiting for test results for patients with symptoms. p