13 Ilocos Sur towns, cities back to stricter MECQ

VIGAN CITY — 11 towns and 2 cities of Ilocos Sur are now back under more restrictive modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) status from April 7 to 21, 2021.

This was announced by Gov. Ryan Luis Singson during a media briefing held by the Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur Covid-19 Action Center in the afternoon of April 7.

The areas placed under MECQ are the towns of Bantay, Cabugao, Cervantes, Narvacan, San Esteban, Santa, Sta Maria, Sta. Lucia, Sinait, Suyo, and Tagudin, and the two cities are Vigan and Candon, all of which were previously on less restrictive modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

An executive order, EO 28 series 2021, issued on the same day cited the “abrupt increase of new cases, recorded local community transmissions, full occupancy of all isolation facilities, absence of a Level 3 hospital, and depletion of health worker in the province” as reasons for the status reclassification of the said local government units (LGUs).

Singson revealed during the press briefing that he preferred to have the entire province under MECQ citing the surge of COVID-19 cases in the previous weeks. He placed the blame on the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) resolution 101, which scrapped swab testing and made quarantine no longer mandatory for travelers, calling the resolution a “failure”.

Dr. Trina Tabogga-Talaga, chief of Ilocos Sur Provincial Hospital – Gabriela Silang and commander of the Ilocos Sur Covid-19 Action Center, revealed that unlike in the previous year, patients in the recent surge are no longer asymptomatic and require medical attention. She revealed that COVID-19 facilities in the province have reached full occupancy and health workers are becoming overworked.

Under the more restrictive MECQ, affected towns and cities are ordered to maintain strict border control by setting up road checkpoints, except along national and provincial highways. Residents traveling between towns are required to present quarantine pass slips. Residents of MECQ areas are not allowed to go outside of their respective LGUs except for essential and emergency travels. Persons coming from Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, including the National Capital Region, high risk areas and all other provinces are temporarily not permitted to travel to LGUs under MECQ except for essential travels.

The EO further defines restrictions for reduced workforce in government agencies, limits in public transportation and mass gatherings, and businesses allowed to operate. Curfew hours continue to be imposed from 10pm to 5am.

As of April 10, 2021, Ilocos Sur has logged 869 confirmed COVD-19 cases, 389 of which are currently active, while 478 have recovered. The province has recorded 8 fatalities from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. ●