South Cotabato forms Covid-19 Task Force

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 12 March) – The provincial government of South Cotabato has created a special task force that will spearhead efforts to counter the possible spread of the coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19).

The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Illustration courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. ordered the activation of the task force through Executive Order No. 15 issued last Tuesday, in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation No. 922, which declared a state of public health emergency over the Covid-19 threat.

Dubbed Provincial Covid-19 Task Force, he said it will lead the implementation of measures to “prevent and contain the spread of Covid-19 and eliminate its threat” to local communities.

Tamayo said it will facilitate the strict implementation of the provisions of Proclamation 922, especially the mandatory reporting of cases, intensification of government response and the enforcement of quarantine and disease prevention initiatives.

He said it will also provide technical and financial support to Covid-19 prevention and control activities in the province.

The task force, which is headed by the governor, involves the province’s 11 city and municipal mayors, heads of various local and national government agencies, including the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

In his executive order, the governor directed all local government units (LGU) and offices in the province to adopt stricter measures and guidelines to “prevent, curtail and contain” the spread of Covid-19.

He said these include the regular cleanup and sanitation of offices and areas that are frequently used by the public.

Tamayo prohibited LGU employees from receiving personal visitors and cited that only those who have legitimate transactions are allowed to enter their respective offices.

He said hand sanitizers and alcohol should be provided to the public upon entry and when exiting government offices.

Employees should refrain from sharing food and utensils during meals in their offices, he said.

He said LGU workers who are feeling sick and weak, and experiencing shortness of breath, fever, cough, colds and other flu-like symptoms should stay home and have to be checked by a doctor.

Tamayo said all mass gatherings and activities of LGUs, private organizations, business establishments and other entities are strongly discouraged and should be postponed until further notice.

“Places of worship should come out with their guidelines in the conduct of activities for the observance of the Lent and Ramadan. All rituals and activities pertaining to these religious activities that can be dispensed with are highly encouraged,” he added. (MindaNews)