Benguet presses lower quarantine status

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The provincial government appealed to the inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious disease, through Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Cabinet Secretary Carlo Alexei B. Nograles to reclassify Benguet from the current modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) status to a lower quarantine status after its expiration on June 15, 2021.

Under Resolution No. 2021-1160 signed by Gov. Melchor Diclas, senior boardmember Robert Namoro, author of the aforesaid resolution, stated that the local government continuously monitors and implements health standards and protocols, as well as information and education campaigns, in coordination with the municipal governments, and other concerned agencies that have caused a significant reduction in the number of Corona virus Disease (COVID) 2019 cases.

He pointed out that given the proximity between the different towns to Baguio city, residents from the municipalities now travel to the city, which is under GCQ), to enjoy its various amenities thereby depriving local businesses of their supposed income to sustain their operation from similar activities.

The boardmember admitted that the current MECQ status has greatly affected the province’s economy and the mobility of the residents where business establishments, local transportation, among others, have a limited time of operation and are subjected to other restrictions such as the no dine in policy.

Earlier, the inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases declared Benguet under MECQ from June 1-15, 2021 primarily because of the previous surge in COVId-19 cases and the inadequate health facilities and isolation units to cater to the needs of the infected patients.

According to him, geographically, Baguio City is located within Benguet, bounded by the municipalities of Tuba, Itogon, Sablan and La Trinidad, and which is under GCQ.

Namoro asserted that the concerted efforts of the local governments and agencies resulted to a positive outcome, as reflected in the latest report of the provincial health office.

At present, the province’s average daily attacked rate (ADAR) as of June 1, 2021 is 5.41 percent while the 2-week daily growth rate as of June 2, 2021 is negative 41 percent.

Further, the province’s health care utilization rate as of June 2, 2021 is approximately 60 percent while the case fatality rate as of June 2, 2021 is just 2.4 percent.

Health authorities also reported that the positivity rate as of June 1, 2021 is 10.86 percent and the vaccination status consumption as of June 2, 2021 is at least 91.59 percent.

Provincial officials emphasized that local businesses have suffered tremendous losses since the implementation of the Luzonwide lockdown aggravated by the varying community quarantine status being declared by the inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases, thus, the province needs a lower community quarantine status to allow the economy to gradually recover to sustain the employment and economic activities of thousands of residents from the various municipalities.

Moreover, Namoro revealed that there is a need for the economy to start recovering and that it must start now or else people will have to continue suffering the absence of robust economic activities. By HENT

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