3 barangays in Bontoc, Mountain Province placed under lockdown due to new COVID-19 variant cases
Mayor Franklin Odsey of Bontoc, Mountain Province on Sunday has placed three barangays under the strict lockdown after the new COVID-19 UK variant was detected in their area.
Odsey issued an executive order placing Barangay Bontoc Ili, Caluttit, and Poblacion under critical zone and implementing an enhanced community quarantine-like lockdown from 12am of January 25 until January 31.
Starting January 25, the movement of the residents of the said barangay will be limited to accessing essential goods and only those who are working on industries allowed to operate can go outside.
The local government urged everyone to follow the minimum health standards.
Also, the residence of those who are infected by the virus was already placed on house lockdown.
In a radio interview, Odsey said one of the patients with UK variant arrived from United Kingdom last December 11 for a vacation.
He said the patient was already based in UK.
“She was tested negative that’s why they are allowed (to go to Bontoc). It was only when they arrived in our place that it was found out that they have the virus,” the mayor said.
Odsey said the patient tested positive on December 18.
Based on the data last January 22, 12 out of 35 specimens from COVID-19 positive cases with UK variant came from Bontoc.
In a statement on Saturday, Odsey said six of the patients were already tagged as recovered and undergoing quarantine while three others were still admitted in the hospital and three more including two children were on home isolation.
“The DOH (Department of Health) is conducting an investigation to determine the presence of a possible community transmission,” he said.
The mayor said they have noticed a dramatic increase in positive cases in the province since late December, thus, a two-week lockdown was declared in Barangay Samoki until the end of January.
“Given the detection of the UK variant in Bontoc, the extension of the lockdowns is likely, and may also expand to all 16 barangays of the town and perhaps the whole Mountain Province, depending on contact tracing results,” Odsey said.
The Bontoc mayor is also undergoing home isolation after he tested positive for the virus last January 15 but he said he has no symptoms and is under constant monitoring by his doctors.
Meanwhile, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the patient who came from the UK had a small celebration and traditional ritual before symptoms started to show.
“They had a small celebration with their family and held a ritual because of their beliefs and from there the symptoms started showing. But we are still gathering the right information so that we can relay it to the public well,” Vergeire said.
She said the DOH will deploy more contact tracers in areas where the new variant is detected especially in the Cordillera Region.
“So, we were able to coordinate with the Regions I, II and III and, of course, the CAR Region and we will deploy around 50 additional contact tracers in Bontoc to conduct intensive contact tracing,” Vergeire said. Ella Dionisio/DMS