Iloilo City ready to extend community quarantine

A woman waits for a ride in a desolate downtown Iloilo City as public transportation is halted amid the enhanced community quarantine against the coronavirus disease 2019. Ilonggos will have to wait a little longer as the national government recommended to extend the quarantine until May 15, 2020. (Arnold Almacen/CMO)

By Emme Rose Santiagudo

Iloilo City government is ready to abide by the directives of the national government on the extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) until May 15, 2020.

According to Mayor Jerry Treñas, the city government is also prepared for the lifting of the ECQ by April 30.

“We are still waiting for the final decision of the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) in so far as Iloilo City and Iloilo province is concerned. We have isolation centers, rapid test kits, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kits. We are ready whatever the recommendation of IATF is. If they will extend the ECQ, we are okay with it, and if not, we are ready,” Treñas said on Friday.

Iloilo City has purchased testing kits using cash donations from Ilonggo businessmen.

The city government also received the 2,500 testing kits purchased from South Korea.

Around 1,700 additional testing kits developed by the University of the Philippines (UP) were also purchased by the city using cash donations from the local business sector.

In terms of isolation centers, Treñas said the city will inaugurate the St. Therese MTC Hospital and the Jubilee Hall next week to serve as isolation centers for mild cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Each facility can accommodate a maximum of 100 patients.

The IATF has recommended on Friday the extension of the ECQ in the National Capital Region (NCR), Region III, Region IV-A and all other high-risk areas in the country until May 15.

In Western Visayas, IATF identified Iloilo and Antique as high-risk areas but subject to rechecking.

Once the national government orders the extension of the ECQ in the city, the mayor said he expects the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to provide food assistance to the city residents.

“If the national government implements the ECQ, there might be changes. We will have to wait for them,” he said.

Before the announcement of the national government, Iloilo City has been gearing to the gradual lifting of ECQ and reopening by May 1.

Iloilo City was placed under enhanced community quarantine from March 20 to April 14, 2020. It was extended to April 30 following the case of local transmission in the metro.

On April 13, the expanded ECQ was imposed, which limited the movement of people during weekends.