Issue of April 5, 2020
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Possible quarantine extension supported
by Jane B. Cadalig

Health officials will support the extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) if local government units so decide.

This came in light of the continuous rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the region.

As of April 2, there are 18 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the Cordillera. A total of 845 are considered persons under investigation regionwide.

In Baguio City, Health Services Office Head Rowena Galpo said she would support an extension of the ECQ to curb the spread of the Covid-19.

“I am in favor of extending the lockdown, but it will be up to the LGUs to decide on that,” Galpo said during an online briefing on the Covid-19 on March 31.

Baguio has the most number of confirmed cases with 12 from which 10 are admitted at the hospital while three have recovered, based on the data of the CHSO as of April 2.

“If we ease the lockdown, there is a possibility that people might flock to Baguio again and we might not be able to control (the spread of the Covid-19 cases.)”

In another briefing on April 2, Galpo said Baguio City has not recorded new positive Covid-19 cases that past five days.

“There has been no sustained community transmission. We are now on our fifth day of no recorded positive Covid-19 cases in the city,” she said.

Department of Health-Cordillera Director Amelita Pangilinan also said she supports the extension of the ECQ for another month or until May.

She said the number of people infected by the Covid-19 is expected to increase with the arrival of more kits to test people who are highly presumptive to have been affected by the disease.

This is aside from the fact that the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) was designated as a sub-national testing center for the Covid-19, which will facilitate the identification of individuals who are positive of the Covid-19 infection.

Before BGHMC became an independent testing center, tests done on persons under investigation for the Covid-19 are submitted to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine for laboratory confirmation, which had been one of the causes of the delays in knowing whether a person who manifested the symptoms is positive of the infection or not.

Since the incubation period of the Covid-19 is two weeks, Pangilinan said extending the ECQ will give authorities more time to observe the trend of the transmission.

She added if the ECQ is extended, there is a possibility that the transmission could be cut.

As of April 3, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Diseases is yet to come up with a recommendation if the national government needs to extend the ECQ or not.

The Luzon-wide ECQ is until April 13 but various local government units have extended the quarantine period up to April 15.

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