By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson has denied the request made by the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases-Western Visayas chapter to close the province’s borders as well as non-essential businesses amid the threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a meeting held at the provincial capitol last Wednesday afternoon, the medical group made a recommendation to Lacson to close the province to non-essential travelers, including returning overseas Filipino workers for a period of two weeks.
The medical group has also made a recommendation for dine-in on restaurants to be temporarily suspended, as well as closing non-essential businesses and banning social gatherings.
However, after careful study of the proposal, Lacson denied the medical group’s request pointing out they have to put the economic aspect into consideration as well.
Lacson further pointed out that he had already requested for a stricter quarantine category in April when COVID-19 cases spiked, but the National Inter-Agency Task Force has denied his request.
Other proposals presented by the medical group include addressing the province’s homeless and the street children in order to further boost prevention efforts on localized transmissions and prevent minors from going out of their homes.
Earlier, Lacson agreed to retain the province’s modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status following a meeting with officials from the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RIATF), although stricter restrictions will be imposed.
Even though the number of active COVID-19 cases are now on the decline in the province and the Department of Health (DOH) tagging the province as “low risk,” Lacson pointed out to the RIATF that social gatherings will be allowed although it would only be a maximum of 30 percent of the venue’s capacity in order to contain the COVID-19 cases to a minimum./DGB, WDJ