Cotabato City bans mass gatherings, imposes no-movement weekend as virus cases surge

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 03 September) – The city government has released new guidelines prohibiting mass gatherings and movement of people outside their homes on Saturday and Sunday.

In her Facebook page, Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi said the measure aims to contain the surge of COVID-19 cases.

Where are the people?
It’s a No Movement Sunday in Cotabato City on 10 May 2020, as mandated by Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi’s Executive Order No. 343 to give business establishments time to thoroughly disinfect their areas. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH B. CABRERA \

Cotabato City has registered 55 COVID-19 cases with 39 recoveries since the start of the pandemic. The remaining 16 active cases are being treated in different isolation hospitals.

“All mass gatherings are hereby prohibited and all clearances issued are correspondingly revoked, all establishments are enjoined to advise their guests or customers of the said cancellation of their bookings,” Sayadi said.

The no-movement weekend will last from 3 p.m. on Sept. 5 until the whole day of Sept. 6.

“This schedule has been approved by the Regional IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force), to make way for the intensive contact-tracing done by our teams because of the new cases of COVID-positive in our city,” Sayadi said.

Residents have been required to secure digital IDs for the mandatory contract-tracing application to strengthen contact-tracing efforts.

In a phone interview, City Health Officer Dr. Meyasser Patadon clarified that despite the increase in the number of cases there was no local transmission yet, as those infected had no travel outside the city or high-risk areas or history of exposure to a COVID case.

Patadon said the infected persons were exposed to health workers at the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center and employees of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) who had visitors from Lanao del Sur and Marawi City.

He said some residents of Lanao del Sur and Marawi made transactions at the BARMM office in the past days.

BARMM Health Minister Saffrullah Dipatuan and his wife, who are residents of Lanao del Sur, contracted the virus and were placed in hospital isolation.

Dipatuan said he is asymptomatic and is presently in isolation at the Amai Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi City “for further observation, and treatment if needed.” His wife is experiencing mild to moderate symptoms and is “also in isolation, undergoing treatment.”

The building that houses the Office of Chief Minister of BARMM has been temporarily closed and employees were told to work from home.

On Wednesday, teams from the Rapid Emergency Action Response on Disaster Incidence conducted disinfection procedures at the BARMM compound in the city. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)