Soccsksargen eases quarantine mode from ECQ to GCQ

Region 12 or Soccsksargen. Map courtesy of Google

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 01 May) – All the four provinces under Soccsksargen or Region 12 shifted starting Friday from the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to general community quarantine (GCQ) relative to the fight against the spread of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr., North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco, Sultan Kudarat Governor Suharto Mangudadatu and Sarangani Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon respectively issued executive orders for the implementation of GCQ from today, May 1, until May 15.

The governors came up with their decisions after President Duterte approved the recommendation of the National Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to place moderate and low-risk areas under GCQ.

In a press briefing here, Thursday Tamayo said the GCQ would allow the local business to slowly restart and recover from the economic standstill triggered by the implementation of the ECQ, which barred non-essential business and services to operate for at least a month to fight the spread of COVID-19.

“The shift from ECQ to GCQ does not mean that we are lowering our guards against COVID-19. We will sustain the precautionary measures such as the wearing of face masks and social distancing in public places so we can defeat the coronavirus disease,” Tamayo said.

He noted that non-residents of South Cotabato will still not be allowed entry to the province unless they belong to the exempted sector, such as those transporting food and other essential goods and services, among others.

In Sarangani, Solon said the regional lockdown earlier agreed by the Regional Inter-agency Task Force on Infectious Emerging Diseases will continue to be enforced.

“Entry of persons in the regional borders must be for essential purposes only and shall be evaluated on a case to case basis depending on the LGUs (local government units) involved,” he said.

Josephine Leysa, Department of the Interior and Local Government-12 director, urged the public to embrace the “new normal,” referring to the mandatory wearing of face masks and social distancing in public places.

“As we transition from ECQ to GCQ, let’s us continue the fight against COVID-19 by maintaining discipline,” she said.

As of 5 p.m on Thursday, April 30,  Soccsksargen recorded 16 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 14 of whom have recovered, the Department of Health – Region 12 (DOH-12) reported.

Of the 371 COVID-19 suspects, 48 were admitted, 99 were discharged, 201 outpatients and 23 have died, it added.

Three probable COVID-19 deaths were recorded so far, DOH-12 said.

In total, 27 deaths (one confirmed COVID-19 case, 23 suspect COVID-19 cases and three probable COVID-19 cases) have been recorded in the region since the monitoring began last February. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)