PHOTO CAPTION: In Aklan, if COVID-19 cases continue to spike, the quarantine status may revert to MECQ, which is the second strictest level of quarantine in the Philippines./iNEWS
KALIBO, Aklan–A reversion to a more stringent quarantine qualification may happen by next month in the province of Aklan, meaning, from the current general community quarantine (GCQ), the quarantine status would step back to modified enhanced general quarantine (MECQ) as coronavirus infections continue to surge.
The four-week GCQ in Aklan will end on July 31.
Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores said the new quarantine status is very likely due to the steady rise in the number of cases.
He had earlier hinted at this possibility, citing concerns over how the people could become complacent and ease up on their personal protective measures against COVID-19.
The province is expected to be hit with tougher and extra rules in MECQ in a bid to curb spiraling infections. Local restrictions, such as only authorized persons outside of their residences can go out of their homes to access basic goods and services, will be reintroduced. Quarantine passes will be needed again and mass gatherings, prohibited.
This, since despite the restrictions in GCQ, case numbers are not dropping and coronavirus infections remained high in early July.
From July 1 to 10, the most up-to-date statistics released by Provincial Health Office-Aklan showed infections were on a steep upward path with 902 new cases and 10 deaths.
Total confirmed cases in the province stood at 5,233 with 866 active cases.
Government figures show the number of victims succumbing to COVID-19 now stands at 114.
Kalibo is suffering the highest number of infections anywhere in the province of Aklan with 1,340. Malay is the second-worst town with 683 cases.
Rounding up the top 5 worst-hit towns are Nabas (433), Ibajay (376), and Banga (368).
Reacting to the numbers, the governor reminded the people to comply with health guidelines, including social distancing, washing of hands, and wearing of face masks, in order to be safe from coronavirus.
For now, these minimum health protocols and the latest government guidelines will stay in place for some time to slow infections.
MINORS, OLDER ADULTS URGE TO STAY WELL AT HOME
Children 18 years and below and older adults are advised to stay well at home as the number of people infected with the coronavirus was still high in many towns.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases approved on July 8, 2021, raising the age limit of individuals who are allowed to go out of their homes in General Community Quarantine (GCQ) and Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).
Kids aged 5 years old and above are allowed in outdoor areas such as playgrounds, biking, parks, hiking trails, beaches, attractions, and tourist sites except under heightened restrictions.
But the province of Aklan is taking no chances with COVID-19 by imposing strict measures on the population.
Provincial Administrator Atty. Selwyn Ibarreta said the current pandemic situation in the province requires stay-at-home restrictions on children 18 years and below and elderly adults 65 years and over.
Except for essential activities, the virus restrictions for these age brackets are enforced to curb infections.
Ibarreta said people should continue to consider the risks amid the surging cases in Aklan, now classified under GCQ through July 31.
“We are seeing a marked increase in cases in the province, and tightened pandemic measures should continue. We must remain careful and cautious in this challenging time,” he stressed.
The wearing of face masks and social distancing in many public areas also remain in place.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults are particularly at the highest risk and vulnerable to coronavirus disease. (Boy Ryan Zabal/iNEWS-Aklan/Boracay Bureau)