QC gov’t won’t lock down area of Filipino with new COVID-19 variant

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2021   •   173

MANILA, Philippines – The residential area of the Filipino who tested positive for the new variant of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will not be subjected to stricter quarantine rules, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said on Thursday.

Belmonte said there is no reason to put the barangay under lockdown as the patient was immediately placed on quarantine after he returned to the Philippines on January 7.

“It’s very unlikely that nakahawa siya sa kanyang mga kapitbahay etc… Wala pa ring batayan para maglockdown doon,” she said.

“Noong tiningnan ko datos ng Barangay Kamuning, nakita ko ang Kamuning is one of the barangays in Quezon City with the lowest number of COVID positive cases, and we have not observed any clustering or any community transmission,” she added.

The 29-year old male patient is the first case of the more transmissible COVID-19 variant recorded in the country. He lives in Kamuning with his family.

The Department of Health earlier reported that the patient tested negative for COVID-19 before his flight to Dubai in December. He also tested negative upon arrival in the Gulf state.

When he returned to the Philippines on January 7, he underwent a swab test and proceeded to a quarantine facility. His test result came out positive the following day.

His female companion, who was with him when they travelled to the Philippines, was also quarantined and tested negative for COVID-19 upon arrival. She would undergo another swab test for precautionary measure.

The patient’s family will also be quarantined and will undergo tests. The health workers who assisted the patient will also be placed under isolation.

Belmonte, meanwhile, appealed to the public not to discriminate residents from Barangay Kamuning following reports that some workers residing in the area have been told to no longer report for work for fear of transmission.

“Gusto ko ring ipaalam sa ating mga employers, ‘yung ibat ibang opisina, nauunawaan ko na kayo ay nangangamba pero dito sa lungsod Quezon, meron tayong tinatawag na Anti-Discrimination Ordinance. This is something that we are ready to pursue kung patuloy na dinidiscriminate mga mamamayan ng Barangay Kamuning nang dahil sa kasong ito,” she said.

A barangay official, however, lamented the disclosure of the patient’s residential area as this may cause fear among residents and may also affect businesses.

“Yun po yung sa akin, sana hindi na lang po dinisclose… May mga businesses po tayo katulad ng palengke na naapektuhan na tapos meron po tayong mga kabarangay na hindi na pinapapasok sa kanilang work,” Armida Castel, chairperson of Barangay Kamuning said.

The city government said it is currently tracing 10 passengers on board the flight of the patient, who are all residents in the city. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

QC gov’t places 4 new areas under special concern lockdown

Marje Pelayo   •   January 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City government has placed four new areas under special concern lockdown following an increase in the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases after the holiday season.

The four areas include:

  • No. 62 Agno Extension in Barangay Tatalon; 
  • No. 1 Salary Street in Barangay Sangandaan; 
  • No. 54 Interior, Magsalin Street in Barangay Apolonio Samson; 
  • 9C, 9D, 97 La Felonila Street in Barangay Damayang Lagi

The Quezon City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU) imposes special concern lockdowns in areas where clustering and possible community transmission have been observed, in order to curtail the further spread of the virus.

“These granular lockdowns are our immediate and proactive response to control the situation in these areas,” Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said.

“Since last year, our special concern lockdowns have been proven effective in controlling the spread of the disease among neighbors and families,” she added.

60 families are affected in the Agno Extension in Barangay Tatalon while Salary street in Barangay Sangandaan has 5 families under strict quarantine. 

In Magsalin street, the CESU has identified 14 index cases with 60 families under lockdown while 150 families are affected in La Felonila Street.

CESU Head Dr. Rolly Cruz said all families in the said areas will undergo swab testing in order to identify other infected individuals. 

However, even if they tested negative, all will still have to finish the 14-day mandatory quarantine period to check if they will develop any symptoms during the said period, he added.

The four new areas are in addition to the two areas earlier placed under special concern lockdown namely MCP HOA and a portion of the Pingkian 1, Central B in Barangay Pasong Tamo.

They have been under lockdown since January 7 and January 14, respectively.

‘Tantamount to discrimination’: Belmonte denounces Arayat LGU move to ban entry of QC residents

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Monday denounced the decision of the local government of Arayat, Pampanga to restrict the entry of the city’s residents into the municipality following reports that a resident from QC tested positive for the UK COVID-19 variant after traveling overseas.

In a statement, Belmonte called the local government’s decision ‘totally without basis’ and is ‘tantamount to discrimination’.

“We strongly denounce the Arayat local government’s decision to restrict the entry of Quezon City residents to their municipality, because this decision is totally without basis, can cause undue panic, and is tantamount to discrimination,” she said.

Belmonte pointed out that the patient did not set foot in Quezon City after arriving from Dubai on January 7 when he was tested and that he stayed in a facility as part of the 14-day mandatory quarantine period.

“The day after, it was confirmed he was COVID-19 positive. His sample was sent to the Philippine Genome Center. On the night of January 13, the city government and the city health department were informed by the DOH that he has the so-called United Kingdom variant. Since January 8, he has been staying at a facility where he remains up to this day for treatment,” she said.

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier reported that the patient traveled to Dubai on December 27 and returned to the country on January 7. His female companion tested negative for the virus but is also under quarantine and strict monitoring.

The DOH added that both had no exposure to a confirmed case before leaving the country.

Belmonte likewise emphasized that a total of 143 individuals, who are considered contacts of the patient have been identified, quarantined, and are closely being monitored.

“Among them are more than 30 healthcare workers and barangay workers who assisted and cared for the patient when he was transferred from the quarantine hotel in Manila to the isolation facility in Quezon City after he was tested positive for the virus,” she said.

Belmonte then appealed to the Arayat LGU to “reconsider its earlier order and allow QC residents to enter its jurisdiction.”

The Arayat LGU has yet to respond to Belmonte’s statement.

QC gov’t to launch KyusiPass app to boost contact tracing efforts

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City Government is set to launch KyusiPass application to boost its contact tracing efforts.

QC Mayor Joy Belmonte said the contact tracing app can help the city keep track of who is visiting establishments within its jurisdiction.

“Currently, our businesses are requiring their guests to fill-up health declaration forms. Through our KyusiPass, they will just tap their QR code onto the scanner and their information, including their name and mobile number, will automatically be sent to our servers handled by our City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU),” she said.

Belmonte said each individual with a valid mobile number who is residing, working, or doing business in Quezon City is required to get a personal QR code. They can register by signing up on the SafePass website, SafePass Facebook chatbot, and through SMS.

Meanwhile, CESU head Dr. Rolly Cruz assures app users that their data will remain private and protected.

“Our QCitizens have nothing to worry about because their data will be protected and secured. Only us in CESU can access their information, and only if we need to trace the contacts of a ‘positive’ visitor from a specific establishment,” he noted. AAC

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