Tacloban cases go­ing down

Daily Tribune (Philippines) - - NATION - BY ELMER RECUERDO

TACLOBAN CITY — New cases of coro­n­avirus dis­ease 2019 (COVID-19) are recorded daily here, but they are on the de­cline.

Data from the City Epi­demi­ol­ogy Sur­veil­lance Unit (CESU) showed that from a high of 339 ac­tive cases on 8 Septem­ber, the num­ber is down to 195 cases as of 21 Septem­ber, a re­duc­tion of 42.5 per­cent in a span of two weeks.

The city has a to­tal of 695 cases with 490 re­cov­er­ies and 10 deaths. Ma­jor­ity of the in­fected are fe­males be­tween 20 to 29 years old.

Mayor Al­fred Ro­mualdez cred­its the de­vel­op­ment to the use of ho­tels as iso­la­tion fa­cil­i­ties, use of QR (Quick Re­sponse) codes by peo­ple en­ter­ing the city and barangay of­fi­cials who are al­lowed to im­ple­ment their own pro­to­cols de­pend­ing on the sit­u­a­tion of their com­mu­ni­ties.

They have to reg­is­ter but if the num­bers swell, we will just reg­u­late the en­try, not stop it al­to­gether.

Tacloban’s dig­i­tal COVID-19 sur­veil­lance ac­tiv­i­ties, con­tact trac­ing, anal­y­sis and net­work­ing sys­tem re­quires per­ma­nent and tem­po­rary res­i­dents, tran­sients and tourists to get a QR code for ef­fec­tive mon­i­tor­ing, es­pe­cially those who came from places on lock­down.

“You will not be al­lowed en­try into any es­tab­lish­ment if you do not have a QR code. If you’re an LSI (lo­cally stranded in­di­vid­ual) or you came from a place that is un­der ECQ (en­hanced com­mu­nity quar­an­tine), the de­vice’s alarm will go off and you can­not en­ter the es­tab­lish­ment,” Ro­mualdez said.

There were pre­vi­ous re­ports of med­i­cal staff and driv­ers who loi­ter around malls af­ter bring­ing in COVID-19 pa­tients to the East­ern Visayas Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter from other lo­cal gov­ern­ment units in the re­gion.

But be­ing the re­gional cen­ter where ma­jor hos­pi­tals and fi­nan­cial es­tab­lish­ments are found, Tacloban can­not im­pose a strict re­stric­tion on its bor­ders.

“I wel­come all those who have to go to Tacloban, es­pe­cially for hu­man­i­tar­ian rea­sons. That’s why we came up with a bet­ter sys­tem so as not to spread the virus. I don’t want to make it dif­fi­cult for the pub­lic but we have to ad­dress these is­sues im­me­di­ately to make our pro­to­cols more ef­fec­tive,” he said.

Ro­mualdez said de­spite the surge in the num­ber of cases dur­ing the last week of Au­gust up to early Septem­ber, he will con­tinue al­low­ing the re­turn of LSI.

“They have to reg­is­ter but if the num­bers swell, we will just reg­u­late the en­try, not stop it al­to­gether,” he said.

PHO­TO­GRAPH COUR­TESY OF TACLOBAN PIO

TACLOBAN City cred­its strict quar­an­tine mea­sures and con­tact trac­ing for de­clin­ing COVID-19 cases.

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