CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Mayor Oscar Moreno has rejected calls for more stringent quarantine measures, saying he favors a calibrated approach in containing the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-2019) in accordance with the guidelines set by the national government.
Responding to an undated letter-petition signed by less than a hundred residents, Moreno said Friday he was bound by the guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) — the primary body tasked with the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The petition, which included several local physicians as signatories, called on Moreno to raise the current quarantine level into enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) that would enforce severe restrictions on the movement of people and the suspension of public transport.
Under the IATF guidelines, the mayor noted that an ECQ would also mean strict home quarantine would be imposed in all households, provision of food and health services would be regulated, and the rules would be enforced by uniformed government personnel.
While he did not rule out imposing ECQ at some point, Moreno said there was no need for such drastic measures as these would only unnecessarily “paralyze the city.”
Calls to suspend public transport but exempt private vehicles on the road, he said, would discriminate against the poor and reeks of “class legislation.”
Even if he wanted to elevate the current quarantine measures, Moreno pointed out that he would have to defer to the “directives of the Department of Health and the Department of Interior and Local Government.”
“It’s not as if you are the local chief executive you can do anything you want. You have to look at the total picture,” he said during Friday’s daily briefing on the city’s Covid-19 response.
“Will that (ECQ) address the issue of the spread of the virus?” the mayor rhetorically asked, even as he reiterated that one of the best ways to prevent Covid-19 from spreading is to ensure that people stay home.
Moreno declared a general community quarantine on March 19, imposing restrictions on the movement of people and limiting business and government activity in the city.
As of Friday, the City Health Office said the city only has one confirmed Covid-19 patient who has already recovered.
On Thursday, Dr. Lorraine Nery, acting city health officer, also noted the decreasing trend in the number of persons showing symptoms of the Covid-19.
Nery said 23 of the city’s 35 patients under investigation (PUIs) have already completed the mandatory 14-day quarantine, while three are still in isolation. (PNA)