GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 10 May) – The city government adopted additional restrictions, among them the “no movement Sunday” and total liquor ban, to contain the spike in community transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The local government issued on Monday afternoon Executive Order (EO) No. 22, reiterating the strengthened border control measures and setting additional guidelines for the “boxing in” strategies to prevent the further spread of the disease.
The order, signed by City Mayor Ronnel Rivera, is aimed “to help break the chain of infection” in the households, puroks, barangays and establishments that triggered the “alarming rise of COVID-19 cases in the city.”
Lawyer Arnel Zapatos, city administrator, said in a virtual briefing the city will remain under modified general community quarantine but with stricter regulations, especially on the movement of people.
He said among the new measures set in the EO is the restoration until the end of the month of the “no movement Sunday,” which was first implemented at the onset of the pandemic and the initial surge of cases last year.
All non-essential movements or transactions are suspended and all business establishments as well as public markets will be closed the entire day.
“This to encourage everyone to stay home so we can slow down and eventually stop the community transmission of COVID-19,” Zapatos said.
The official said the selling and drinking of liquor in public places and establishments are prohibited starting 10 p.m. Monday and until May 31 while the curfew hours will be observed from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Mass gatherings are still prohibited and religious institutions are encouraged to conduct virtual services, he said.
Zapatos said the local government will conduct random testing in barangays with increasing cases of COVID-19.
He said contact-tracing and mandatory containment will be implemented in identified cluster areas in the barangays.
Rivera said the city government decided to implement “stronger measures” to effectively control the increasing COVID-19 cases.
He said the active cases in the city have increased to 261 as of Sunday, threatening the capacity of the city’s health system.
The confirmed infections in the area since last year already reached a total of 2,689, with 94 related deaths and 2,334 recoveries. In the last five days, the City Health Office recorded 158 new cases and 72 recoveries.
“We don’t want to impose these restrictions but our hands are tied. We have to do this to stop the surge and hopefully everyone will cooperate,” the mayor said.(Richelyn Gubalani / MindaNews contributor)