FOOD AID DISTRIBUTION. Authorities and barangay officials distribute food packs to families in high-risk barangays in San Fernando City in La Union on July 7, 2021. These high-risk barangays have been placed under granular lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus disease 2019. (Photo courtesy of San Fernando City's Facebook page)

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – The city of San Fernando in La Union province will be under general community quarantine (GCQ) from its current modified general community quarantine status, from July 9 to 22, to curb the increasing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases here.
In Executive Order No. 30 issued on Wednesday, Governor Franscisco Emmanuel Ortega III said the local chief executive and the local Philippine National Police (PNP) are directed to ensure compliance with the operational Guidelines on the Application of the Zoning Containment Strategy in the Localization of the National Action Plan against Covid-19 Response and other applicable guidelines during the implementation of GCQ.
“This includes but is not limited to imposing stringent limitations on movement and transportation of people, the establishment of checkpoints, the observance of the minimum health protocols, the closing of non-essential establishments, and strict regulation of operating industries, the imposition of curfews,” he said.
The EO stated that on July 5, San Fernando City Mayor Hermenegildo Gualberto wrote a letter to Ortega requesting to reclassify the quarantine status to GCQ with restrictions similar to that of some local government units in the National Capital Region.
“City Mayor Gualberto also forwarded Resolution No. 04-2021 from the City Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (City IATF) strongly recommending the City of San Fernando to be placed under GCQ with some restrictions for a period of 14 days upon the approval of the provincial governor and concurrence of the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force,” it said.
In a recent interview, Gualberto said 17 out of the 59 barangays in the city were identified as high-risk with at least seven Covid-19 cases.
“Since July 3, we have strengthened the enforcement of minimum health standards together with the barangay officials and the police. Some areas in these barangays were also placed under granular lockdowns,” he added.
Gualberto said these areas will also undergo targeted testing.
He attributed the rising Covid-19 cases in the city to local transmission within households and workplaces.
San Fernando City was among those identified with a high number of Covid-19 cases in the entire country.
Gualberto, however, clarified the need to balance life and economy thus the decision to revert to GCQ with restrictions instead of higher quarantine status.
He urged residents here to strictly abide by the minimum health standards to contain the spread of Covid-19.
“We are asking for the cooperation of everyone. We should always practice proper air-circulation or meeting in open spaces; physical distancing; always wear face masks and face shields properly, and interaction with other people should be at least 30 minutes only or less,” he said.
As of July 6, San Fernando City recorded 353 active Covid-19 cases. (PNA)