Ilocos Norte town extends lockdown of market

LAOAG CITY – A yellow barricade tape remained in place at the entry and exit points of the San Nicolas public market on Monday as more of its vendors and utility personnel tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

A public advisory of the municipal government of San Nicolas posted on its official Facebook page said the lockdown and containment at the public market since March 31 shall remain enforced until further notice due to rising Covid-19 cases in the town.

Of the province’s 57 new active cases reported in a single day on April 4, San Nicolas town logged the highest number with 51 cases, most of them market vendors and staff of the municipal government.

“Due to the volume of specimen submitted for testing from nearby provinces and from other towns in Ilocos Norte and to circumstances we cannot control, the results of swab test conducted to the market vendors were not yet released by our accredited molecular laboratory,” the advisory added.

Mayor Alfredo Valdez appealed to all his constituents, particularly those who are affected by the lockdown, to cooperate with the local government and understand the situation.

“Again, we remind all those who have undergone swab testing to remain isolated until the results are released,” he said.

To prevent the further spread of the virus, the San Nicolas municipal government likewise announced that services at the municipal hall shall only be limited to the issuance of birth and death certificates and burial permits.

As most of the healthcare workers are preoccupied with the ongoing monitoring and surveillance operations, the Municipal Health Office likewise announced that they shall only be catering to emergencies until the Covid-19 situation is under control.

Since March 31, around 400 market personnel and vendors have undergone swab testing but some of them have yet to receive the results.

The Ilocos Norte government contact tracing team is also providing augmentation personnel to San Nicolas to speed up the tracing efforts.

It may be recalled that the Covid-19 outbreak in the said town was traced to a 34-year-old female market vendor from Barangay San Pedro who tested positive last week. However, her exposure was undetermined. Leilanie Adriano / PNA –