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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, May 14, 2020
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‘Low-risk area status
based on limited data’


Medical groups in Negros Occidental have issued recommendations that the city government of Bacolod can adopt should it eases quarantine restrictions after May 15.

In a letter to Mayor Evelio Leonardia yesterday, the groups said they commended the efforts of the city and provincial governments in working alongside the health workers in controlling the spread of the disease. However, the battle against coronavirus disease 2019 is clearly far from over.

The letter was signed by Dr. Ma. Ivy Malata, president of the Philippine Medical Association-Canlaon Medical Society, and Dr. Roberto Puerta, president of PMA-Negros Occidental Medical Society, and supported by 11 medical specialty groups.

“Although we have been labeled as low risk by the national government, we believe that this risk status as labeled is based on limited data. Our testing centers are not yet in place, and we have only been testing approximately less than one percent of our population. Thus, the cases that are published are not representative of the actual scenario in our city,” they said.

With this, they issued recommendations to help the local government consolidate its efforts in beating the Covid-19 pandemic.

They suggested to establish RT-PCR testing facilities in the city and the province, mass testing of healthcare workers and all suspected and probable cases, massive education campaign, gradual return to business in order to improve the economic status of the city;

Devise a strategy to continue limitation of activities, allow modes of transportation to resume but require them to practice social distancing, continued prohibition of social gatherings, continue the liquor ban, strict implementation of social distancing in pharmacies, markets, supermarkets, banks, and other public places, continue with the dedicated team for contact tracing for the city and province, keep the borders closed, and continue the adequate and functional quarantine/isolation facilities in local government units.

The groups said the recommendations they suggested were based on their research, experience, and medical expertise.

“We are also learning from the experiences of other countries that have lifted their quarantines prematurely,” they said.

They also said they would like to work with the local government “to make sure that these unfortunate events will not happen to our beloved City of Bacolod.”*


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