Dagupan on lockdown soon?
By Leonardo Micua
WITH the serious threat posed by COVID-19 variants, including the more transmissible Delta variant, it may really just be a matter of time before Dagupan is locked down under the specter of a full-blown pandemic. God forbid, it will not!
It was Mayor Brian Lim himself, in a video posted by PIO on social media, who hinted that the COVID-19 variants may now be all over Dagupan, citing the 31 new cases logged on August 10, the highest number of COVID-19 cases registered in Dagupan in one day this year.
With most of the city’s barangays infected by COVID-19, we heard that city hall is mulling the possibility of imposing a granular lockdown in some of the affected areas to stem the rising tide of cases, something it did not do early on when the cases were soaring.
The COVID-19 variants may now really be swarming Dagupan with the relative ease the way APORs (Authorized Persons Outside of Residence) are able to enter and exit the city sans any question at all if they have any document and if the papers are authentic.
Remember that even if the Delta variant is fast spreading in Metro Manila and its peripheries, trade and commerce go on unimpeded in the city. Big trucks from Navotas and Bulacan continue to deliver fish at the Dagupan Wholesale Market daily and nobody knows for sure if their drivers and helpers are carriers of the virus.
Remember that the first upsurge of cases in Dagupan months back was traced to the Dagupan Fish Market. Have we forgotten that drivers and helpers of trucks delivering fish from Metro Manila are potential carriers of the unwanted Delta variant?
Clearly, city hall is only reacting to a crisis and is never proactive which was why the city hall was again caught unaware when the first Beta variant case was detected in Barangay Palua, Mangaldan, a stone’s throw from Dagupan’s Bonuan Boquig.
Considering Dagupan’s proximity to Mangaldan, it should have imposed a stricter border control at least between Palua and Bonuan Boquig to prevent the entry of the Beta variant into Dagupan but it didn’t.
The Beta variant (from South Africa) is one of the variants of concern declared by W.H.O. While it is less infectious than the Delta variant (from India), it’s definitely more infectious than the Alpha variant (from UK). Not seen in the Philippines yet is the deadliest of them all, the Lambda variant from Peru.
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Wonder no more why the COVID-19 cases suddenly spiked in Dagupan at this time of the year. (As of August 11, it has 194 active cases). The lax enforcement of the standard health and safety protocols by the authorities in the barangays continues.
When I went to the Malimgas Public Market to buy some essential things, I observed that not many people were buying fish and meat nowadays due to the hard times caused by the prolonged pandemic. But there was section of the market that was overcrowded—the carinderia section—patronized by ordinary people who cannot afford a meal at Jollibee or Mang Inasal.
The diners were eating their meals shoulder to shoulder. What’s worse, those that finished their meals, stayed on to continue their conversation with no face masks on.
Then the jeepneys are not enforcing the “no face mask, no face shield, no ride”. Those that have face shields wear these on their heads, not on their faces.
But before this week’s press deadline, our photographer Butck Uka called to inform me that policemen and POSO enforcers are again strictly enforcing the wearing of face masks in the streets and the observance of social and physical distancing protocols. New order from city hall because the cases are again rising?
I hope this is not another ningas cogon implementation of the standard health and safety protocol. If it is, expect Dagupan to be placed under the ECQ, a situation that’s anticipated by some people because that comes with ‘ayuda.’
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Another reason why the Delta variant may be in our doorstep sooner or later is the fact that we are the center of health care institutions in Pangasinan and Region 1.
Being so, there is a big possibility that the IATF may order the provincial government to accommodate the excess patients in Metro Manila in our local government and private hospitals, whose bed occupancy level has already reached its critical point. We hope this will not happen.
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