#COVID-19 Regional Updates (04/13/20)

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Makati warns quarantine violators of stiff penalties

THE MAKATI City government has warned that violators of quarantine rules and the mandatory wearing of face masks outside homes will be fined with up to P5,000 and jail time. In a statement Monday, the local government stressed that City Ordinance No. 2020-088 imposes a P5,000 fine for first- and second-time offenders of the mandatory quarantine, while those caught a third or more times face one-year imprisonment in addition to the financial penalty. Meanwhile, City Ordinance No. 2020-089 sets a maximum of P5,000 fine or six months imprisonment for residents caught not wearing face masks outside their homes. A fine of P1,000 will be imposed on first-time offenders and P3,000 for the second time. — Genshen L. Espedido

WVMC resumes services to non-COVID-19 patients

THE WESTERN Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) in Iloilo City, the only tertiary-level public hospital in Region 7, on Monday resumed services for severe cases not related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to cater to indigent patients needing urgent care. Department of Health Regional Director Marlyn W. Convocar said while the COVID-19 situation is a health crisis, there are still patients with other conditions that also require tertiary medical care. “With this protocol, we can prevent the displacement of indigent patients with severe medical cases,” she said in a press conference. The 450-bed WVMC, which was earlier designated as a dedicated COVID-19 hospital, will now just allocate 100 beds for COVID-19 patients. WVMC Chief of Hospital Joseph Dean Nicolo said starting Monday, they will accept patients requiring tertiary health care under the Internal Medicine and Obstetrics-Gynecology Departments. “Other departments are now ready to accept extreme emergency cases or life-threatening cases only. We ask everybody to remain patient as we gradually make our services available to the general public based on our capacity as a dedicated COVID-19 and non-COVID hospital,” he said. As of April 11, the region had 40 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 13 were admitted in hospital, 14 under home quarantine, six have recovered, and sever died. — Emme Rose S. Santiagudo

Food delivery thrives in Davao City amid quarantine

FOOD delivery service in Davao City — including for fresh produce, groceries, and cooked meals — has been on high demand amid quarantine measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and suppliers are stepping up to meet orders. The foodpanda Group, for one, is launching bicycle riders and expanding its service area in the city. Reynaldo Rubio, foodpanda PR manager, said they have started to deliver food orders to the Toril area in the southwestern part of the city in addition to Puan in the south and Panacan in the north. The food delivery firm currently has over 30 restaurant partners in the city. Dine-in operations at restaurants is prohibited under existing restrictions. “Foodpanda has hundreds of riders serving daily and we will be launching the bicycle riders soon as well,” Mr. Rubio said in an e-mail interview. He noted that the company has more than a thousand riders nationwide, with bicycle riders comprising about 10%. He added that “walkers as part of the delivery fleet might also happen soon.”

The New City Commercial Center (NCCC), a homegrown supermarket operator, has also enhanced its delivery service that was seldom used before the COVID-19 outbreak. Thea Septann S. Padua, NCCC public relations manager, said it has started hiring more drivers to speed up delivery. “Our target is to make 50 deliveries in a day,” she said in an online message. The company has also opened a “call and pick-up” service wherein a customer gets a “personal shopper” to put together the items on the list. The customer then picks up the bags at a designated parking slot. Ms. Padua said the company believes these services will become an “essential component of retail operations” after the COVID-19 health crisis. The Department of Agriculture-Davao Region office and several groups on social media, particularly Facebook, have also been actively posting delivery services for agricultural goods. Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry President John Carlo B. Tria, in a statement, said the community quarantine has opened work opportunities in the delivery business. “A number of delivery and courier service providers like Errands Davao have told us that they are facing shortage of riders due to the overwhelming demand from customers, or are limiting their services since they cannot cater to the large demand,” Mr. Tria said. “It is important for business to keep running especially the ones that would supply daily commodities as demand remains high. One way to do this is to utilize social media for delivery services,” he said. —Maya M. Padillo and Carmelito Q. Francisco