32 sub-villages in Agusan Sur town placed under ECQ lockdown

SAN FRANCISO, Agusan del Sur (MindaNews / 16 October) – At least 32 puroks (sub-villages) in 10 barangays of this town were placed under granular lockdown with the imposition of an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) through local transmission.

Police and traffic enforcers man a COVID-19 checkpoint in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. MindaNews photo by CHRIS V. PANGANIBAN

In Executive Order No. 53 series of 2020, Mayor Solomon Rufila identified these areas as belonging to Barangays 2,3, 4 and 5 in the poblacion and Barangays Hubang, San Isidro, Alegria, Pisaan, Karaos and Rizal.

The lockdown will start from 5 p.m. of October 16 and ends on 5:00 p.m. of October 31.

The order cited the adoption of the zoning containment strategy guidelines of the National Interagency Task Force Against COVID-19 based on Memorandum Circular No. 2 series of 2020.

The order said there is a need to restrict the movements of residents who were in close contact with confirmed COVID-19 cases, as contract tracers will have a hard time interviewing them if they keep on interacting with other people.

The town has a total of 57 confirmed COVID-19 cases of which 32 were active, 24 had recovered and one had died.

Lawrence Tinampay, municipal information officer-designate, said the puroks cited in the order will be placed under granular lockdown.

But he clarified that it will only be implemented within the neighborhood where the COVID patients lived.

“It could be within the vicinity of a block or along the street of the neighborhood of those having confirmed COVID 19 victims,” Tinampay said during a live phone interview yesterday morning on “Balita Alas Siyete” program of the provincial government-run DXAR 89.7 FM.

Tinampay said the municipal government will issue the guidelines for residents living in the ECQ areas after a meeting between Rufila and barangay officials on the same day.

San Francisco was the first town of Agusan del Sur declared by the Department of Health Caraga Region as an area with local transmission in the last week of September.

Two other towns , Loreto and Bunawan, recorded local transmissions early this week prompting the mayors there to declare their respective towns under modified ECQ.

Bayugan City, where the Department of Health-Caraga confirmed a local transmission Wednesday, has not declared an MECQ but has placed two puroks of a barangay under granular lockdown. The city has 11 active cases and 14 recovered cases.

In Loreto, the MECQ started Oct. 8 and will end Nov. 5.

Mayor Lorife Magadan Otaza has placed the entire Barangay Poblacion under granular lockdown, restricting the movement of residents to essential purposes. The town has 13 active COVID cases and four recoveries.

In Bunawan, Mayor Sylvia Elorde has placed the entire municipality under MECQ for 14 days, from Oct. 15 to Oct. 29. The town has nine active COVID cases and 10 recoveries.

Dr. Kevin Boron, Incident Management Team chief of Bayugan, did not disclose the name of the barangay to prevent panic among the city residents.

But Mayor Kirk Asis issued Executive Order No. 80 series of 2020 mandating all 43 barangays in the city to suspend visits to tourism sites and similar activities.

Agusan del Sur is currently under a modified general community quarantine.

Three residents, one each in San Francisco, Trento and Bayugan City, have died since the onset of local transmission.

Imposing stricter measure, Mayor Rufila has assigned specific days during which residents of a barangay may go to the market, and enforced a number coding scheme for tricycles, the town’s chief means of public transport.

Aside from face masks, residents in areas with local transmission were required to wear face shields in public places. (Chris V. Panganiban/MindaNews)