The mayor here has indefinitely placed the entire city on lockdown to further secure city residents from the threats of the coronavirus 2109 (Covid-19).
Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi made the move following reports that a patient confined at a government facility allegedly was tested positive for the disease.
“I refuse to comment on that for now because the Department of Health (DOH) is the rightful agency to make a confirmation such on cases,” the mayor told a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
During the period, no one is allowed to enter the city except for those undergoing dialysis treatment and other serious illnesses at the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center (CRMC), a DOH referral hospital for Covid-19 cases.
Checkpoints are also doubled at all entry points of the city as curfew hours have been extended from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily.
“Medical teams comprising of doctors, nurses and food supply could enter the city but would be escorted by local authorities to their places of destination for their safety,” the mayor said.
Health workers from nearby towns and provinces are also allowed entry provided they present evidence, emergency vehicles like ambulance carrying patients and food delivery trucks, soldiers and police doing security jobs.
Officials of CRMC refused to confirm the situation of the suspected Covid-19 patient as protocols dictate only DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III will make an announcement on the matter.
“We would you to know that the CRMC only has 16 isolation rooms and we could not handle Covid-19 patients more than that number,” Guiani-Sayadi said.
The alleged Covid -19 patient in isolation at CRMC is from Lanao del Sur and attended a recent event in Malaysia.
“I have asked the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) to provide us the list so we can track them and help them. I am still awaiting a response from them," Guiani-Sayadi said, appealing to the 215 persons who recently traveled to Malaysia for the same religious event.
“We cannot close our eyes, everybody is vulnerable, no one is excused, whether you are rich or poor,” she said.
The mayor said the maritime police would also help prevent the entry of people from nearby Maguindanao province who would attempt to use the rivers to gain entry.
“You would be arrested and charged,” Guiani-Sayadi said.
If a bonafide resident of the city is found to be Covid-19 positive, the city government would provide financial assistance to him during his hospitalization.
Source: Philippines News Agency