After five days, Benguet and Apayao reverts back to general community quarantine as six of the Cordillera local government units are under the status with only Ifugao will remain under modified enhanced community quarantine until the end of the month.
President Rodrigo Duterte last Wednesday downgraded Benguet and Apayao’s status along with Abra, which was under MECQ since last April but retained Ifugao due to the high rise in Covid-19 cases the past two months.
In fact, Ifugao and three other LGUs remain under MECQ even as the National Capital Region and the four Southern Tagalong provinces of Rizal, Laguna, Batangas and Cavite have been downgraded to GCQ with heightened restriction in the latest directive issued by Malacanang as recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force.
Also still under MECQ are the City of Santiago in Isabela, Quirino Province in Region 2 and Zamboanga City in Region 9, the Malacanang directive said.
It added: “All other areas shall be placed under Modified General Community Quarantine until month’s end.”
The provinces of Benguet and Apayao were declared under MECQ on May 10 due to the rise of Covid-19 cases and upon the recommendation of the screening and validation committee.
Originally, the two Cordillera LGUs were supposed to be under such status until May 23, said Resolution 114-C, series of 2021 issued on May 9.
Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas and the Provincial IATF came out with the localized guidelines for the people of the province to follow for two weeks that “aimed to decrease the number of Covid-19 cases.”
The Provincial Health Office earlier reported that Covid-19 cases and deaths have been increasing in Benguet. The PHO said that the youngest Covid-19 related death is a three year old female from Buguias.
It added that the bed capacity of the Benguet General Hospital for Covid-19 is now full and more patients with severe and critical symptoms need to be admitted.
With the lifting of MECQ in the province, Diclas released an advisory on May 14 which now allows persons below 15 years old and 65 years and older to go out of their residence for obtaining essential goods and services; gatherings for wakes and funerals for a maximum of four days; opening of tourism destinations; and, allow religious gatherings with a limit of 30 to 50 percent on the venue capacity, among others.
Benguet and Apayao have the second most and second least Covid-19 cases in the region with the former tallying 8,154 confirmed cases and 172 deaths as of May 13, while has 995 confirmed cases against five deaths, the DoH – Cordillera reported. Baguio has more cases with 11,496 and 208 deaths, DoH – Cordillera added.
Abra has the least number of confirmed cases with 565 and 18 deaths.
Cordillera has 33,577 confirmed cases and 544 Covid related deaths, the DoH – Cordillera further reported.
Ifugao was placed under MECQ last April 30 and its PHO has conducted active community testing from May 4 to 8 in the municipalities of Lagawe, Asipulo, Lamut, Kiangan, Hingyon, Banaue and Alfonso Lista.