Negros Occidental lockdown mulled

Left photo shows Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson (left) with Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer meet with mayors on the possible lockdown of the province amid the threat of COVID-19. (Richard Malihan/Capitol photos)

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said Tuesday that a lockdown or enhanced community quarantine is being considered in the province to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

This was the consensus of the mayors in a meeting with Lacson and Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer Tuesday morning.

Under an enhanced community quarantine, strict home quarantine is implemented in all households.

Transportation will also be suspended and provision for food and essential health services is regulated. Uniformed personnel will also be deployed to enforce quarantine procedures.

Lacson said “enhanced community quarantine is an option being placed on the table especially from the medical society in the province.”

When asked if the lockdown will start Monday, Lacson said nothing is definite yet.

“But I would like to assure the public that even if we have to go through that, food supply will be available. There will be one person from each house who will be allowed to go out. We will make sure that cargoes will continue, medicines and other essentials will be available as well,” he added.

The sugar industry will also continue operations, the governor said.

“Remember that if the sugar milling continues there is still employment for the people,” Lacson said.

“As to the date, nothing is definite, there is no reason to panic.”

He also dismissed reports about rice shortage saying that the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist assured that supply is good for three months and more will come from other provinces.

Lacson said they are facing a serious problem and the consensus is that positive COVID-19 cases here are low “because we don’t have many tests conducted.”

“The solution really is to keep people in their houses so that the COVID-19 will not find a new host through us individually,” he said.

Lacson also cited the situation in Manila where drastic measures were taken.

“We should learn from their experience in dealing with Covid-19,” he added.

Lacson reiterated that as far as the lockdown is concerned, “there is no date yet but the direction is really towards that, the earlier, the better.”