The Makati City government has given assurances it is ready to provide essential needs to residents who will be affected by the granular lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus disease and its Delta variant in the community.
“Makati is the first local government unit to implement a localized or granular lockdown last March. As we shift from modified enhanced community quarantine to general community quarantine on Wednesday, I would like to assure Makatizens that our city will provide food packs, COVID-19 home care kits, and swab tests for them in case their street or barangay is placed under granular lockdown,” said Mayor Abigail Binay.
Binay said her administration first implemented a 14-day localized community lockdown in Barangay Pio del Pilar earlier this year when there was a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases.
Apart from food packs and free delivery of medicines, the local government did house-to-house swab tests during the first 48 hours to determine and isolate positive patients.
After the results were out after a day or two, the lockdown was lifted in areas where people tested negative.
There was also a designated station or ‘concierge’ for those who needed to buy medicines and other essentials.
The city government has also started providing a home care kit to COVID-19 positive residents with mild symptoms. It includes a home care handbook, alcohol, oral antiseptic, sore throat spray, fever pad, medical infrared thermometer, pulse oximeter, washable and disposable face masks, vitamins, and medicine for fever.
With the right equipment, residents will be able to closely monitor their health and report medical emergencies to the Makati City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit to prevent their condition from getting worse.
“Since Metro Manila is under Alert Level 4, our goal is to help Makatizens recover so that they will not need to be hospitalized,” Binay noted.
The city chief executive also said the local government would focus on testing symptomatic patients and tracing close contacts to prevent superspreader events.
At present, the city provides free RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) tests to residents with COVID-19 symptoms and close contacts.
Binay urged residents to call the Makati CESU at (02) 8870-1442, (02) 8870-1444, (02) 8870-1447, and (02) 8870-1448 should they experience COVID-19 symptoms like fever and difficulty in breathing, among others.
Up north, the quarantine classification in Ilocos Norte has been elevated to stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), Malacañang announced.
Ilocos Norte will be placed under MECQ beginning Sept. 7 until Sept 30, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual presser.
Ilocos Norte was initially placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions until the end of September.
Most of the towns in Ilocos Norte have been put under localized lockdowns following the rise in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections in the province.
Apart from Ilocos Norte, the provinces of Apayao, Bataan, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, and Iloilo, as well as the cities of Lucena, Iloilo, and Cagayan de Oro have also been placed under MECQ.
Meanwhile, Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro called on national government agencies to already issue guidelines regarding its policy shift in restrictions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Interviewed on GMA News’ Unang Balita, Teodoro lamented that these guidelines were not released yet considering that the pilot test for granular lockdown in Metro Manila would already start on Wednesday.
He pointed out that concerned agencies should already issue guidelines for the possible opening of construction services, personal care businesses, more modes of transportation, face-to-face classes, among others amid the policy shift.
In related developments, a first-term congressman called on the Duterte administration to provide financial assistance for affected households and minimize work disruption in areas affected by the granular lockdowns.
While expressing support for the national government's plan to pilot granular lockdowns in Metro Manila, Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles said:
“While this is a good step in balancing public health and the economy, the success of this strategy will be dependent on two things: The strict implementation of hard lockdowns, and the provision of sufficient ayuda for families that will be affected.”
Nograles said that unlike an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) that totally disrupts the economy of the National Capital Region and requires a very large amount of money for financial assistance, the granular strategy is a wiser choice as it is less disruptive.
“I hope that medical experts will be hands-on in advising the local governments in identifying areas for granular lockdowns. With a carefully targeted quarantine approach, the available limited manpower and resources will be deployed to where it is extremely necessary,” he explained.
Nograles, who is a member of the Metro Manila Development Committee in the House, also looks forward to seeing the effects of the NCR pilot of granular lockdown measures in handling the spread of COVID-19.
“We are hoping that this will be effective and determine whether this strategy can also be applicable to localities near NCR, such as Montalban and other surrounding towns,” he added.
Meanwhile, Rep. Ronnie Ong of the Ang Probinsyano party-list group insisted that as long as the government did not have widespread and effective testing and contact tracing systems, no amount of lockdowns could minimize the spread of the virus.
“Even at the start of this pandemic, this was already our problem, but the Covid Task Force still has not come up with an effective testing and contact tracing system,” said Ong.
Ong lamented that despite the creation of the Department of Information and Communication Technology, the government still had not come up with a single nationwide contact tracing system and a national database for fully vaccinated individuals.
Ong stressed that the granular lockdown did not make any sense because it would lock down people who are not positive and deny them the opportunity to earn a living, adding it was also ridiculous that APORS (Authorized Persons Outside Residence) are locked out of their homes if their communities were placed under granular lockdown.