Aklan mulls tougher lockdown if COVID-19 cases keep climbing
The Aklan provincial government on Wednesday said it was mulling a request for the province to be placed under the strictest lockdown level if its COVID-19 cases continue to spike.
About 80 percent of COVID-19 hospital beds in the province are already occupied, with exhausted health workers appealing for a timeout, said Aklan Gov. Florencio Miraflores.
Aklan, he said, has tallied 187 coronavirus deaths since last year, including 137 which were recorded in the last 3 months alone.
"Tinitingnan ko nga, kausap ko ‘yong Department of Health regional office na kung tutuloy-tuloy pa rin ang surge dito sa Aklan, baka ilagay na ‘yong Aklan sa ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) classification," Miraflores said in a televised public briefing.
(I will see, I am talking with the Department of Health regional office, that if the surge continues, Aklan might be placed under the ECQ classification.)
Aklan is under the second toughest lockdown level, modified ECQ, at least until Aug. 15.
While the province has not yet detected any case of the highly contagious Delta variant that could be fueling the spike in infections, Miraflores said: "We have to look into that possibility."
He pointed out that the first Delta case in Panay island was detected in the town of Pandan, Antique, which shares a border with Aklan. Travelers from Antique were allowed to enter Aklan until early June, added the governor.
"Wala pang confirmation [ng Delta case] from our Genome Center, pero na-observe namin na sobrang bilis ng pag-infect ng COVID ngayon," he said.
(There is no confirmation yet from our Genome Center, but we observed that the spread of COVID now is very quick.)
Only 11 percent of Aklan's 400,000 target population have received a dose of COVID-19 vaccines, while 7 percent have completed 2 doses, said Miraflores.
"Ang baba ng aming vaccination kasi ang kakulangan ng vaccines ay isang malaking problema," the local chief executive said.
(Our vaccination is low because the supply of vaccines is a big problem.)
"We are appealing for help from the national government to give us more allocation of vaccines so that this can help us stop the surge," he said.
The local government is also asking the social welfare department for help in providing aid to displaced workers, including those based in the holiday island of Boracay, which closed again during the MECQ, Miraflores said.
"Sa ngayon kasi ho ang Aklan ay halos naubos na ang aming resources. Halos 1 year and 6 months na tayo dito nakikipag-away sa COVID," the governor said. "The most that we can share sa ngayon ay mga food packs muna sa mga affected families."
(Right now, Aklan's resources are almost depleted. We have been battling COVID for about a year and a half. The most that we can share right now are foods packs for affected families.)