LOCKDOWN. Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas says the local government “is considering” to impose a lockdown to contain the Covid-19. As of 10 am Wednesday (March 18, 2020), Iloilo City has 980 persons under monitoring (PUMs) while 27 are classified as patients under investigation (PUIs). (PNA photo by Perla G. Lena)

ILOILO CITY – The local government here is “considering a lockdown” amid the increasing number of patients under investigation (PUIs) and persons under monitoring (PUMs) recorded in the metropolis in a day.

Data from the city’s emergency operation center showed that as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, there were 980 persons under monitoring (PUMs) while 27 classified as PUIs with no confirmed cases.

This was a big jump from the 218 PUMs and 10 PUIs based on the data provided by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) as of March 17. Three of the PUIs have already tested negative for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Dr. Roland Jay Fortuna, Iloilo City focal person for Covid-19, said on Wednesday that many Ilonggos coming from countries with local transmission as well as from Metro Manila have come home. They are considered as PUMs based on the new decision tool of the Department of Health.

“With the increasing number of PUIs we have in the city, we need to act fast. And we need to move fast so we can stop the virus, and be able to save lives,” said Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas in a statement released through his official Facebook account.

He said that during the lockdown, only “essential establishments” will be opened so the public can still buy their daily needs.

The mayor has also met with supermarkets and pharmacies and got their assurance of “ongoing supply of goods”.

Moreover, daycare centers of the city’s 180 barangays are being prepared to “provide mobile kitchens”.

“This is not final yet since we need to have this approved. This is for the best of everyone. I also hope that everyone will cooperate. The longer you will start cooperating the longer this virus will stop,” he added.

As the proposal is broached, he said that there is no need for the public to panic.

In a previous interview, the city government emphasized that there is no need for the public to go on panic buying because there is no restriction on the flow of goods and raw materials entering the metropolis.

In a press conference on March 16, Treñas said that “all goods will be replenished”.

Executive Order 50 which the mayor released on March 15 states that “entry of cargo ships will be unhampered”. However, they have to comply with the guidance of the Department of Health (DOH) and their crew or passengers could not disembark.

He also clarified that there is “no boundary restriction imposed for travelers coming from the province of Iloilo”.

The restriction was imposed in ports of Dumangas, Iloilo and Lapuz wharf for roll on- roll off (RORO) vessels and at the fast craft terminal bound for Bacolod. EO 50 suspends the non-essential entry of persons traveling to Iloilo by sea.

On Tuesday, the Sangguniang Panlungsod already passed an ordinance for the implementation of a curfew in case of circumstances that would merit its implementation.

The implementation will be subject to the occurrence of certain conditions, the mayor said.

On the same day, the mayor issued EO 53 regulating the operations of shopping malls, shopping centers and similar establishments from 11 am to 7 p.m. and until 8 p.m. for KTVs, restos, bars, food establishments, coffee shops and the like. EO 51 was issued for hospitals, clinics, hotels, resorts, and similar establishments hosting PUMs and PUIs to strictly implement waste management.

Effective immediately, the city government also canceled the conduct of joint inspection for establishments and road clearing operations.

He also signed Memorandum Circular 096 for the adoption of the four-day work schedule based on the guidelines of the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

A command center has been established at the city hall penthouse that will serve as the city government’s nerve center in responding to Covid-19 issues. (PNA)