GenSan enforces ‘stricter lockdown’

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 13 April) — The city government stepped up on Monday the enforcement of the travel restrictions and the “clustered lockdown” of its barangays amid the ongoing enhanced community quarantine in the area.

Mayor Ronnel Rivera said they adopted some changes in the implementation of the quarantine and control measures against the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to facilitate the full compliance of residents and concerned establishments.

He said they observed in the past several days that there were still some “hard-headed” individuals who were not following the regulations and could compromise the local government’s efforts to contain the spread of the disease.

The mayor specifically cited the compliance to the “odd-even scheme” or “unified vehicular reduction system for private and public utility vehicles,” the use of the home quarantine passes and the practice of social and physical distancing.

“I ordered our traffic enforcers, police personnel and barangay officials to bring down the number of motor vehicles plying our streets and strictly implement social distancing for people going to essential establishments,” he said in a radio interview.

Rivera said he also directed the stricter implementation of the ongoing “clustered lockdown” in all 26 barangays of the city, which already recorded its first confirmed COVID-19 case last week.

The mayor ordered last week the segregation of the barangays and communities into 12 clusters, with some comprising up to three sections based on their geographical location, to ensure the strict implementation of the ban on non-essential travel within the city.

Residents were not allowed to leave their respective clusters except for medical reasons, bank transactions, and other emergencies.

Rivera said the “clustered lockdown” will ensure the faster and immediate containment of possible cases that might emerge in the city.

He said it will also limit the movement of persons who would be classified with suspected and probable COVID-19 infection.

The mayor cited the case of the city’s first positive patient (PH 3669), who was found to have earlier stayed in his two houses in Barangays Labangal and Sinawal, went to church, shopped in a mall and even worked out in a fitness gym before his test result came out.

The patient, who was admitted in a hospital here, tested positive of COVID-19 two weeks after the Araw ng Dabaw six-cock derby held at the New Davao Matina Gallera in Davao City last month.

“Imagine how many barangays he went to in just one day. With the clustering, we can contain a patient in one barangay and make the contact-tracing much easier,” he said.

The city government earlier extended the ongoing enhanced community quarantine, which was supposed to end on Tuesday, until April 30 based on a recommendation issued by the Soccsksargen Regional Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19.

The mayor said the lockdown on the city’s border highways and the curfew from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m will remain in effect during the period. (MindaNews)