Zambo and Butuan cities, Basilan and Agusan del Norte back to GCQ; Davao City remains under MGCQ

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 15 July) — President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the cities of Butuan and Zamboanga and the provinces of Agusan del Norte and Basilan back under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) from July 16 to 31 as COVID-19 cases continued to rise in these areas.

Nineteen other provinces and four cities, including Davao City were placed under medium-risk Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced shortly before midnight on  Wednesday that the President approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases  (IATF-EID) to reclassify the quarantine status of the cities of Butuan and Zamboanga and the provinces of Agusan del Norte and Basilan from MGCQ to GCQ.

The IATF apparently granted the appeal of Mayor Sara Duterte that Davao City —  which
has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Mindanao  (613 as of July 15) –  be allowed to remain under the less restrictive MGCQ.

The IATF had earlier recommended that Davao City will revert to GCQ.

Zamboanga City, which has consistently been second to Davao City in the number of COVID-19 cases,  has 342 cases as of July 14, according to the city government while. Butuan City has 39 cases as of July 15.  Both cities have been classified under GCQ along with Agusan del Norte which has 43 cases as of July 15 and Basilan which has 74 as of July 14.

Areas classified as medium-risk MGCQ are Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay Sibugay in Zamboanga Peninsula; the cities of Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan and the provinces of Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte and Misamis Occidental in Northern Mindanao; Davao City, Davao de Oro, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Davao Oriental in the Davao Region; General Santos City and the provinces of  North Cotabato, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat in Soccsksargen; Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur in Caraga; and Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao

Roque reminded the residents in provinces and cities classified as medium risk-MGCQ  that although the local economies remain open, local governments would be strictly enforcing measures to contain the spread of the infection such as localized lockdown and zoning, adhering to basic health protocols such as wearing of face masks, frequent hand washing, and social distancing.

He said LGUs in medium-risk MGCQ are directed to continue accepting returning overseas Filipinos and locally stranded individuals but advised to put them under quarantine and have them undergo reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test, the gold standard for COVID-19 testing.  (Antonio L. Colina IV/ MindaNews)