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Navotas on 14-day lockdown; Cebu City’s ’hard’ limit lifted

Navotas will be placed under a 14-day citywide lockdown starting July 15 amid a rising number of COVID-19 cases, Mayor Toby Tiangco said Monday.

Navotas on 14-day lockdown; Cebu City’s ’hard’ limit lifted
'PASAWAY.' Some of the reasons for the surge in coronavirus cases in Metro Manila are pictured here – violators of the face mask ordinance holding their tickets in Navotas City. Twitter page of Mayor Toby Tiangco
The order is expected to take effect on Wednesday or Thursday, Tiangco told Agence France Presse, adding the full set of guidelines was still being finalised.

Meanwhile, the hard lockdown in certain areas in Cebu City was lifted, based on a resolution of the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious diseases.

The Cebu City government and the Philippine National Police recommended the lifting of the hard lockdown, since no new cases and many recoveries have been reported.

READ: ’No to home quarantine’

Imposed since April to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the Cebu lockdown was eased in Sitio Zapatera in Barangay Luz; Sitio Gonzalo in Barangay Tejero; Sitio Alaska in Barangay Mambaling; Sitio Callejon in Barangay Labangon; and the entire Barangay Bacayan.

Elsewhere, Batangas City tightened health protocols, with its “white bus” monitoring team and police making the rounds to pick up anyone not wearing a face mask and holding a quarantine pass.

A city ordinance imposes a six-month jail term and a P5,000 fine for face-mask violators. Batangas City currently has 105 COVID-19 cases.

Talking to CNN Philippines, Tiangco said once the police augmentation team arrives in the city, residents will get a day's notice before the lockdown begins.

The mayor said residents will be allowed to leave if they work outside Navotas, and nonresidents who work in the city will be allowed to enter during the lockdown.

"I am not sure if this is a solution, but I am certain that if I do this the number of cases will not increase," Tiangco told a radio station.

Quarantine measures to contain the virus vary across the Philippines, but the strictest and longest lockdown was in Metro Manila, the center of the country's outbreak.

It shut down in mid-March and only began to reopen at the beginning of June with limited public transport and offices permitted to have skeleton staff.

Since then lockdowns have been re-imposed on several neighbourhoods as cases jumped, but the stay-at-home order for Navotas will be the biggest.

READ: Localized lockdowns pushed

One of the poorest areas of Metro Manila and home to its main fishing port, Navotas has 931 confirmed cases and 59 deaths, according to local government figures. The city recorded 31 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total to 547 active cases.

But the number of new infections has spiked in the past two weeks.

"We have no choice but to do it because people are so stubborn," said Tiangco, referring to people flouting social distancing rules.

Tiangco said the city's two isolation facilities are now full after two days of record-high new cases, prompting local health officials to send patients to quarantine centers managed by the national government.

He said residents became complacent when Metro Manila was put under a general community quarantine that eased restrictions.

The city, he said, will impose heavier fines on those who violate rules quarantine rules on the use of face masks and social distancing.

Meanwhile, the anti-graft court, the Sandiganbayan, ordered a lockdown on its premises Monday after two of its employees tested positive for COVID-19.

In a memo, Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang said the closure of the Sandiganbayan along Batasan Road in Quezon City, is necessary to allow immediate and thorough disinfection of its entire building and to conduct contact tracing and to monitor the health of the court's employees.

Tang said the court will continue to function as all justices, officials, and employees will be working remotely under an alternative work arrangement.

READ: Cebu hospitals reach critical level—DOH

"The public may contact the court through its hotline and email addresses as published in the Sandiganbayan website," the memo said.

To date, Quezon City has over 3,700 COVID-19 cases, the highest among the cities in Metro Manila.

The Supreme Court, through the Office of the Court Administrator, advised all courts nationwide to issue a lockdown order only if personnel test positive after a confirmatory test.

The Court has placed the Manila Metropolitan Trial Courts (MeTC) Office of the Clerk of Court (OCC) and its Branch 30 under lockdown starting on Monday after it was confirmed that both offices have employees who tested positive for COVID-19.

Manila MeTC Executive Judge Carissa Anne Manook-Frondozo of the MeTC Branch 30, which is located at the Manila City Hall, said that it would be on lockdown from July 13 until July 24.

The Manila MeTC-OCC, located at the Parkview Plaza Building, would be on lockdown from July 13 until July 22.

Frondozo said they were able to verify the information that one employee of Manila MeTC-OCC and an employee of Branch 30 tested positive for COVID-19 after undergoing a Reverse

Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test in two separate medical facilities.

“The lockdown of these two offices is without prejudice to the possible lockdown of other branches whose employees are found to have likewise been directly exposed to the two COVID-19 positive employees, after intensive contact-tracing has been concluded,” Frondozo said.

She also reminded all employees that they must undergo self-quarantine within 14 days from the day they were directly exposed to employees found positive of the virus.

The Office of the Solicitor General in Makati City was placed under lockdown after one of its employees tested positive for COVID-19.

The OSG will remain closed until further notice, an advisory said.

During the lockdown, only personnel from the FMS (Facility Management System) and the sanitation and disinfection team are allowed to have access to its premises.

It also advised the public that no documents will be received or released while the lockdown is in place.

The OSG said it is already conducting contact tracing and monitoring of its workers who had close contact with the COVID positive employee.

The OSG building is currently undergoing decontamination and sanitation.

Also on Monday, the Manila International Airport Authority on Monday announced 32 airport workers tested positive for COVID-19.

MIAA general manager Eddie Monreal, said 10 of these have already recovered from the deadly disease. The others are under quarantine, he said, adding that there was no need for a lockdown at the airport.

He also assured air travelers there are enough health and safety protocols in place in the four terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Navotas on 14-day lockdown; Cebu City’s ’hard’ limit lifted
'PASAWAY.' Some of the reasons for the surge in coronavirus cases in Metro Manila are pictured here – quarantine violators young and old alike, children playing with no face masks on a rooftop. Twitter page of Mayor Toby Tiangco
Citing Health department protocol, Monreal said if there was a unit or office at NAIA has a positive case, the said office will be ordered closed for a maximum of three days for disinfection while the patient will be placed under 14-day quarantine and treated while contact tracing is done.

Meanwhile, the airport chief reminded locally stranded individuals that they are not allowed to enter the airport facility if they have no confirmed flights.

Topics: Navotas City , citywide lockdown , COVID-19 cases , Toby Tiangco
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