Iligan imposes ‘community quarantine’

ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 15 March) – Mayor Celso Regencia on  declared on Sunday a “community quarantine” to strictly monitor incoming persons and vehicles, and ordered the postponement of public activities and mass gatherings, including church services.

Joint personnel from the Army, Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Fire Protection man a checkpoint in Dalipuga, Iligan City as “community quarantine” starts Monday (16 March 2020), wherein all incoming passengers from public and private vehicles are required to present valid government-issued IDs and to register, indicating their travel history. Their body temperature will also be taken once the city government gets thermal scanners. MindaNews photo by RICHEL V. UMEL

In his Executive Order No. 29 issued Sunday, the mayor also required students, who do not have to go to school because of indefinite suspension of classes he declared earlier, to stay at home.

Iligan City had earlier declared a state of calamity shortly after the announcement that the first patient in Mindanao confirmed to have COVID-19 was first admitted at the Adventist Medical Center here before being referred to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center in neighboring Cagayan de Oro City.

Regencia said residents of Iligan who are returning to the city from other places will have to present a valid government-issued identification card and register at the designated checkpoints, writing their names, addresses, contact numbers and history of travel.

The designated checkpoints are in Barangays Buruun and Dalipuga, aside from the existing ones at Suarez and near the Mandulog River.

Non-residents coming into the city “for legitimate and absolutely necessary purpose” will go through the same process.

Vehicles that are only passing through Iligan will be “accompanied/monitored by [police or military] marshals … until their vehicles are out of the boundary.”

Passengers with fever, or with body temperature of 38 degree Celsius or above, will be temporarily held at the checkpoint and reported to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for further action.

Vehicles join a long queue at a checkpoint in Dalipuga, Iligan City as “community quarantine” starts Monday (16 March 2020). MindaNews photo by RICHEL V. UMEL

The order said all passengers with history of travel abroad or local areas with COVID-19 cases are required to undergo home quarantine for 14 days and report to the EOC if they have flu-like symptoms. “Those who refuse to undergo home quarantine shall not be allowed entry to Iligan City,” Regencia said.

Personnel and drivers of delivery vehicles will also be required IDs and to register, including the plate number of their vehicles. Regencia told reporters after his announcement that the crew of shipping vessels will undergo the same process.

The mayor assured the public that there will be free flow of food and other items from suppliers into Iligan.

The mayor prohibited several establishments from operating: swimming pools, cockpits, bowling lanes, gyms, those offering team sports, movie houses, karaoke bars, beer houses, amusement places, internet cafes, bingo and e-games and similar businesses.

He barred patients from other areas and suggested they “seek medical intervention at their respective hospital facility.”

Regencia encouraged senior citizens, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable personalities to stay at home.

Among his “precautionary measures” against COVID-19 is the postponement of public activities and mass gatherings of any kind regardless of size, including church worship service. Regencia tasked the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team to monitor such events.

He reminded residents of the City Council’s ordinance reviving curfew hours: from 12 midnight to 4 a.m.  (Richel V. Umel with reports from Froilan Gallardo / Mindanews)