LGUs need more data to decide on quarantine fate in Zambo
ZAMBOANGA CITY, April 26 (PIA) – As several areas in the country are set to downgrade quarantine levels in the coming days, still, local government officials in the region need more scientific basis in order to decide whether or not to ease community quarantine measures here.
According to Dr. Joshua Brillantes, DOH-9 assistant regional director, no new cases of COVID-19 were reported for the past 7 days, a welcome development in region 9. However, 130 test results are still pending at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
“We cannot really assess the trend until we finally get the results and when the local testing facility will be operational,” he said. “For now, it is very important that we maintain home quarantine, physical distancing and other preventive measures to reduce or cut off the transmission (of the virus).
He added that the COVID-19 test facility in Zamboanga City when operational in the coming days will really speed up testing, and will be instrumental in determining whether or not the “curve has been flattened”.
Local government officials depend on this assessment to make sound decisions whether or not to relax community quarantine policies implemented in the different provinces and cities in the region.
“We cannot really say that we have flattened the curve for now, we still have to wait for the pending results and for the testing facility to be operational,” Dr. Brillantes said.
The test facility at the Department of Agriculture (DA) laboratory in Zamboanga City will be operated by DA staff with personnel from the Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC). Currently, trainings for the personnel are being done, with special emphasis on bio-security measures to ensure their safety and that live specimens are properly contained without risk to the surrounding community. The DOH is hopeful that the facility will be operational as soon as all preparations are completed, hopefully in the coming week.
Earlier this morning, the National Interagency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (NIATF-EID) recommended for the extension of the quarantine in specific high-risk areas in the country, while gradually easing the quarantine levels of other provinces that are considered low-risk. The Zamboanga City government for one will still maintain the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) until further assessment by the local inter-agency task force. (NBE/DIS/PIA9-ZAMSULTA)