Agusan Sur declared under community quarantine

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur (MindaNews / 17 Mar) – Even as Agusan del Sur still remains free from the dreaded coronavirus disease (COVID-19), provincial officials are not taking any chances and declared the province under community quarantine effective midnight of March 17.

Bus passengers join a queue for their body temperature to be taken with a thermal scanner in a checkpoint in Barangay Pisaan, San Francisco municipality in Agusan del Sur Monday (16 March 2020), a day before provincial officials put the entire province under community quarantine to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. MindaNew sphoto by CHRIS V. PANGANIBAN

Gov. Santiago Cane Jr. issued Executive Order No. 13-20 Series of 2020 placing the entire Agusan del Sur under community quarantine to avert the local transmission of the COVID-19.

He said when the community quarantine takes effect, all passenger buses from Davao City, Butuan City, Bislig City and Tandag City are no longer allowed to pass by the province to pick up passengers. Only local public transportation vehicles are allowed to travel within the province’s boundaries.

Exempted however from the transport ban are travels for purposes of medical interventions, transport of food, water and medicine supplies in and out of the province, transport of petroleum products and other basic commodities, travels of persons carrying exiting government contracts and projects, all travels of the Armed Forces and the police, all travels of health workers doing official duties, disaster rescue workers and official travels of the Task Force members.

Since the global pandemic hit the country, the Provincial COVID-19 Task Force has documented seven cases of persons under monitoring (PUM) but all were tested negative after they separately underwent 14-day home quarantine except for another case which was declared as person under investigation (PUI) after having a cough on the last day of quarantine.

Most of the PUMs came home from abroad while the lone PUI is an overseas Filipino worker in Thailand who returned home for vacation in Sta. Josefa town.

The Provincial COVID-19 Task Force has even prepared mitigation measures in case the pandemic will worsen and would finally infiltrate the province by identifying drug rehabilitation centers, halfway houses and unused old buildings of district hospitals as possible isolation and treatment centers.

Alfredo Plaza, provincial public information officer, said the task force agreed to use the facilities of the China-funded 150-bed drug treatment and rehabilitation center in San Francisco town, residential treatment and rehabilitation facility inside the 401st Army Brigade camp and the unused old facilities in the three district hospitals of the provincial government. (Chris V. Panganiban / MindaNews)