#COVID-19 Regional Updates (04/14/20)

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4 of 12 NCR quarantine facilities ready

FOUR out of 12 mega quarantine facilities in the National Capital Region for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients have been completed, Bases Conversion Development Authority President and Presidential Adviser on Flagship Programs and Projects Vince B. Dizon said. In his presentation during Tuesday’s virtual hearing of the Defeat COVID-19 committee in the House of Representatives, Mr. Dizon said that they have finished preparations for the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, Rizal Memorial Stadium, Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), and the World Trade Center. Other quarantine facilities still undergoing conversion are the Quezon Institute, Philippine Sports Arena, Duty Free Philippines in Parañaque, Filinvest Tent in Alabang, Amoranto Stadium, Quezon City Memorial Circle, Veterans Medical Complex and the Philippine Arena. Mr. Dizon added that the Clark Convention Center is already operational and will start accepting patients from Pampanga and Tarlac “in the next few days.” — Genshen L. Espedido

NWRB assures enough water supply during ECQ, summer

THE National Water Resources Board (NWRB) assured that Metro Manila has enough water supply during the extended enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until April 30 and the remaining summer period. In a radio interview, NWRB Executive Director Dr. Sevillo D. David Jr. said the current water level of Angat Dam is still “comfortable” to meet Metro Manila’s water requirements. “We still have enough water in Metro Manila. It can last this summer and until the arrival of the rainy season,” Mr. David said. As of Tuesday morning, Angat Dam’s water level was at 192.95 meters, lower by 0.20 meters from Monday, according to data from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). Mr. David estimated that the minimum operating level of 180 meters will be reached around the second week of June if the dam continues its rate of decline and the rainy season arrives later than expected. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

Iloilo officials block return of over 100 OFWs

ILOILO province’s officials, including town and city mayors, have blocked the return of overseas Filipinos workers (OFWs) currently in Manila, citing risks to their families and communities after one from another batch that came in from Cebu tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The over 100 OFWs, who were stranded in Manila following the imposition of an enhanced community quarantine in the province, were supposed to take an April 14 Philippine Airlines flight from Manila to Iloilo. In an April 13 letter to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Governor Arthur R. Defensor Jr. rejected the request for the flight to land at the Iloilo International Airport. The letter was co-signed by San Enrique Mayor Rosario F. Fernandez, provincial president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines. “We like to see our OFWs home with their families but allowing them to come home at this time only increases the risk of more COVID-19 cases in the province of Iloilo, puts the safety of their own families at risk, and further extends the deadline of our enhanced community quarantine,” Mr. Defensor said. The provincial government, in a post on its Facebook page on Tuesday, also said the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) should first set up an isolation facility for returning OFWs and subject them to COVID-19 tests “before any repatriation to Iloilo can be made.” Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas, meanwhile, said there was a breach in quarantine protocols involving the group of OFWs that arrived via a ship from Cebu last Saturday. “I was terribly shocked to learn that there was a violation of protocols established by the IATF (Inter Agency Task Force). Aside from OFWs who had finished the 14-day quarantine in Cebu, there were three undocumented persons that one person turned positive both in the rapid testing and the confirmatory PCR test,” Mr. Treñas said in a statement on Tuesday. He criticized the OWWA for failing to handle the situation and lack of coordination with the local government. “A total of 94 people had exposure to the OFW. They are personnel from the Philippine Coast Guard, 32 staff of the City Health Office, 42 crew members from Cokaliong Lines and six personnel of the Public Safety and Transportation Management Office. Personnel from the city government are now under quarantine,” the mayor said. — Emme Rose S. Santiagudo

Sarangani converts drug rehab center into COVID-19 isolation facility


SARANGANI province is tapping its existing drug rehabilitation center as an isolation facility for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) suspect patients. Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon, in a statement Monday, said while the province remains free from positive COVID-19 patients, measures are in place to address the national health crisis at the local level. Parts of the Dangerous Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Alabel town, built through a P350 million funding from China, have been retrofitted to accommodate 10 patients under observation for COVID-19. Provincial health officer Arvin C. Alejandro said should there be a surge in the number of suspect cases, the contingency plan is to use the Sarangani Health Care Facility inside the Capitol compound, which will be able to accommodate up to 30 patients. Mr. Alejandro added that their office also has a list of isolation units at the barangay and municipal levels. Davao City is also using its drug rehabilitation center as one of five quarantine areas.