5-year-old is 15th confirmed case in Cagayan Valley

A FIVE-year-old female is the latest patient in Cagayan Valley confirmed to have the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), bringing the region’s total cases to 15. In a report on Tuesday, the Department of Health (DoH) regional office said of the total, eight are from Cagayan province, four from Isabela and three from Nueva Vizcaya, including one who died. There are no reported recoveries so far while 12 are admitted in hospital and two under home quarantine. As of March 30, the region had 262 persons under investigation as they have symptoms of the disease, and 40,103 under monitoring, or those without symptoms but have relevant travel history or exposure to a COVID-19 patient.

Prosecutors’ offices in Laguna, Parañaque temporarily closed

TWO prosecutors’ offices have been temporarily closed due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), an official of the Department of Justice (DoJ) said. The Office of the Provincial Prosecutor in Laguna was closed last March 15 after one prosecutor tested positive for the disease, Undersecretary Markk L. Perete told reporters in a mobile-phone message. The city prosecutor’s office in Parañaque will also be closed until next week as the entire Hall of Justice building is being disinfected after a report that a litigant died of COVID-19. “However, even with these closures, the NPS (National Prosecution Service) maintained a skeletal force to perform its basic function. Inquest of cases were re-assigned to a nearby jurisdiction,” Mr. Perete said. The DoJ has also allowed the use of the online platform e-inquest for those caught pursuant to warrantless arrests. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

No new COVID-19 cases in Central Visayas as of Monday’s test results

THE NUMBER of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the Central Visayas Region remained at 30 as of the March 30 test results released by the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center Sub-National Laboratory (VSMMC SNL). Of the total, 20 are from Cebu City, including three deaths. Four others, with two deaths, are from Negros Oriental. There are two each from Lapu-Lapu City and Cebu province, and one in Mandaue City. The lone confirmed case in Bohol, a Chinese tourist, has recovered. Department of Health (DoH) Regional Director Jaime S. Bernadas, in a statement Monday afternoon, stressed that the “absence of a new case for today should not cause us to be complacent.” He added, “This does not reflect a decrease in cases or an absence of ongoing transmission in the community. Contact tracing and implementation of quarantine protocols with strict monitoring reduce the risk of further transmission.” All provinces and independent cities in Central Visayas have been implementing community quarantine measures, including banning the entry and exit of non-residents except for identified “essential” sectors such as health workers.

In Eastern Visayas, results from the VSMMC SNL confirmed one new case, the second in the region. The patient is a 68-year old male from Calbayog City with history of travel to Manila. “A surveillance team was dispatched already to do an extensive contact tracing,” DoH Regional Director Minerva P. Molon said in a statement on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the first COVID-19 patient, who is from Northern Samar, had a negative result in the second testing. Ms. Molon said the patient is “in stable condition and is ready for discharge,” but will still be required on home quarantine for 14 days. — Marifi S. Jara

Curfew violators


IN STO. TOMAS, Davao del Norte, where a 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew is in effect, apprehended violators will spend the night at the town’s Recreation and Cultural Center where two empty coffins have been set up as a reminder of the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The first batch of violators caught Sunday night was a group of young men who were “under the influence of alcohol” when apprehended. “If the public keeps on violating our protocols on COVID-19, death is imminent for all of us,” said Mart D. Sambalud, municipal information officer. He added that this is “a serious move of the local government to innovate our campaign.” The municipal government said criminal charges will also be filed against violators.

Davao Region COVID-19 cases reach 50

PATIENTS confirmed with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Davao Region has reached 50 as of March 30, the Department of Health regional office reported yesterday. This is the biggest cluster of COVID-19 cases outside Luzon. Of the total, 41 are residents of Davao City, four of whom have recovered while six died. Four patients are from Davao del Norte, and two each from Davao Oriental and Davao del Sur. The lone patient from Davao de Oro, the region’s first recorded case, has recovered.

Meanwhile, local government units in the region have joined the business sector’s call for financial institutions to provide reprieve to borrowers amid the COVID-19 outbreak. In a resolution on March 27, the Regional COVID-19 Task Force, joined by the Regional Development and Peace and Order Councils, asked “government and private banking and financial institutions to extend the loan payments for one year for all their clients in Davao Region with outstanding loans and falling due not earlier than March 2020.” The resolution states that a moratorium on loan payments is necessary as measures that have been implemented to stop the spread of the virus “have caused massive disruptions in jobs, businesses, transportation, work, school and leisure among the residents” of the region. The resolution also urged public utilities like power, water, telecommunications, and internet service providers to extend their due dates for three months for bills not earlier than March 2020. The business sector, which earlier sought reprieve on loan payments, welcomed the joint move of the task force and the councils. Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry President John Carlo B. Tria, in a message to BusinessWorld, said “any reprieve from payments will help many businesses that have to deal with the uncertainties brought by COVID-19.” — Carmelito Q. Francisco