Some areas in the Bicol region have tightened again following the recorded increase in COVID-19 cases there.
The province of Albay is one of them, which has been placed under general community quarantine again, said Governor Al Francis Bichara.
According to Bichara, the province has not been able to return to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the strictest of the government’s 4 quarantine status.
“‘Pag ECQ naman, sarado na naman ang ekonomiya dito at marami na namang maghihirap dito. Kulang naman ang perang pambigay natin na ayuda sa mga household,” said Bichara.
But for Dr. Carlsen Antonio, president of the Albay Medical Society, it seems that the GCQ is still too loose, especially since there are hospitals where there are already queues of patients waiting to be admitted.
According to Antonio, even the modified ECQ can raise the province’s quarantine status.
According to Bichara, the result of the RT-PCR test, which determines whether a person is infected with COVID-19, is also not as fast.
Testing and contact tracing are important to prevent the rapid spread of the disease.
Bicol tightens restrictions following increase in COVID-19 cases
In the list of the Department of Health, out of 264 licensed laboratories, only 4 serve the entire Bicol region.
Most of the laboratories are also located in the National Capital Region.
So infectious disease expert Dr. Benjamin Co thinks that antigen testing may be allowed, especially for those with symptoms, just to speed up the detection of those who test positive for the disease.
“The rapid testing using an antigen swab is easily accessible. It is cheaper. During an outbreak, it is reliable and it gets the results very quickly. So maybe they can complement it,” said Co.
In Naga City, police trainees were deployed to punish those who do not follow the health protocol.
Shopping at the Naga City People’s Mall has also been cut short due to the curfew in the market.
Baptisms and masses in the chapels were also canceled.