'Stricter' quarantine in virus-hit villages up to local officials: health dept

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2020 12:01 PM | Updated as of Mar 19 2020 12:18 PM

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MANILA -- It is up to local governments if they want to implement "stricter" quarantine measures in villages with confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, the health departmeent said Thursday. 

This, after the Quezon City government on Wednesday barred residents from leaving their homes in "hot zones," or areas where at least 3 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed, and would mark the 500-meter radius from a patient's house. 

"Kung sakali po, may mga local governments tayo na they are implementing stricter compliance to this enhanced community quarantine, ang local governments po ang makakapagsabi because they are the ones directly coordinating and interacting with their citizens," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told DZMM. 

(If ever there are local governments implementing stricter compliance to this enhanced community quarantine, it is the local government which should have the say because they are the ones directly coordinating and interacting with their citizens.) 

Some other countries also cordon off the houses of COVID-19 patients, said Vergeire. She said she could not however comment on the legalities of the potential stigma that this move could create. 

"Siguro po mas maganda po na 'pag nagkaroon tayo ng pagpupulong with our Metro Manila mayors and also iyong buong IATF (inter-agency task force), ma-discuss po itong issue na ito para magkaroon po tayo ng uniform implementation para maiwasan po natin ang mga ganitong saloobin ng mga kababayan natin," she said. 

(Perhaps it is better if we meet with our Metro Manila mayors and the whole IATF, discuss this issue so that we could come up with a uniform implementation so that we could avoid sentiments like this from our compatriots.) 

With some 3.1 million residents, Quezon City is the most populous city in Metro Manila, with nearly a quarter of the region's population living there, based on the Department of Health’s projected population for 2020.

The 22 barangays which Mayor Joy Belmonte said had residents with COVID-19 make up nearly a fourth (22 percent) of Quezon City’s population, having an estimated 676,967 residents in total this year. Four of them are among QC's most populous barangays. 
 
The Philippines as of Wednesday confirmed 202 cases of the respiratory disease, including 17 deaths and 7 patients who recovered. 

To arrest the pathogen's spread, President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday placed all households in Luzon under home quarantine until April 12.