Parts of Ilocos Norte on community lockdown

Parts of Ilocos Norte on community lockdown

LAOAG CITY — A community lockdown has been declared starting Thursday following the rise in the number of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in this city and some parts of the province.

Laoag Mayor Michael Keon announced in his official Facebook Page on Thursday that Sitio 6 of Barangay 50 Buttong and Sitio 2 of Barangay 37 Calayab were locked down beginning Thursday afternoon until 11:59 p.m. on August 4.

Keon said the decision was reached after two residents in the area tested positive of Covid-19 and massive contact tracing is ongoing.

With this, the mayor has directed Lieutenant Colonel Amador Quiocho, police chief of Laoag, to establish checkpoints and border control to the entry and exit points of the affected barangays to ensure that there shall be no unnecessary entry or exit of people except for authorized front-liners.

“I appeal to everyone to stay home and do not be nervous,” Keon said in an interview as he expects residents to fully cooperate until contact tracing is fully implemented.

A six-day lockdown is also ongoing since Tuesday at the Camella Homes in Barangay Zamboanga and on Wednesday at the Northcrest subdivision in Barangay Nalbo as two residents in these areas were infected.

Responding to a public outcry to lock down the entire province, Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc said in an open statement on Thursday evening that he has “limited powers” to do it.

He explained that as per Executive Order No. 112 dated April 30, 2020, “no local government unit shall declare its own community quarantine, regardless of nomenclature, without observing the foregoing procedure”.

But like other provinces in the region with a spike in Covid-19 cases, the governor said the Provincial Health Task Force has already made a request to President Rodrigo Duterte not to send home residents of the province without a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test under the “Hatid Tulong” program.

At present, Ilocos Norte recorded a total of 23 Covid-19 cases, with 6 recoveries and zero death. Massive Covid-19 testing is also ongoing to speed up the determination of those possibly infected. Leilanie Adriano /PNA –