Stricter border controls during GCQ a must, say

THE provincial health office has recommended that tighter controls at border checkpoints be done during the General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) period to prevent further COVID-19 infection in the province.

In a PUNCH interview, Provincial Health Officer Ana de Guzman said 17 cases out of the 40 confirmed positive cases contracted the virus had a travel history to and from Metro Manila, the most recent was the case of the frontliner from Asingan town who arrived from Manila.

De Guzman said it is for this reason that she recommends that border control points should not be removed even during the GCQ and reiterated that testing be applied to all who arrive from the National Capitol Region to ensure that no potential carrier enters the province.

She also asked that the 14-day quarantine protocol should continue to be imposed on suspected carriers because as confirmed cases in the past have shown they arrived asymptomatic from NCR only to be tested positive.

As the province shifts to GCQ, her office will continue the mass testing in the 16 identified ‘hotspots”, the towns that recorded positive cases.

Under the GCQ, De Guzman said all LGUs must be reminded to help implement the following protocol: 1) Wearing of  face masks should be compulsory 2) Use alcohol to disinfect hands if no water and soap are readily available and 3) Curfew should be implemented continuously.

In addition, the PHO head advised fast food restaurants to continue to operate for drive through or take out services or to consciously reduce the number of persons who stay for dine by removing 4-seater tables and make do with 2-seater tables only to ensure social or physical distancing.

“And “No face masks, no-entry for patrons, whether for pickup or dine in,” she stressed.

Meanwhile, P/Colonel Rederico Maranan, provincial PNP director, agreed that control checkpoints should not be dismantled and strict border controls be maintained particularly in the Pangasinan-Tarlac boundary of the Mangatarem, Rosales-Tarlac and Bayambang-Tarlac areas and to closely check circumstances of everyone who enters the province.

He added curfew and liquor ban should be continued in the province and wearing of face masks and social distancing under the GCQ be maintained. (Nora Dominguez)

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