TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Following the elevation of Kalinga to alert level 4 from January 21-31, 2022, members of the City Inter-Agency Taskforce (CIATF) convened for an emergency meeting earlier today, discussing the promulgation of an Executive Order (EO) stipulating the implementing guidelines of COVID-19 response in the city.
Alert Level 4 is the second-highest alert level given to areas with high or increasing COVID-19 case counts, as well as high and increasing bed and intensive care unit utilization rates.
As per the highlights of the EO guidelines discussed, persons below 18 years old and above 65 years of age, those with immunodeficiencies, comorbidities, or other health risks, and pregnant women are not allowed to leave their homes except for obtaining essential goods and services and working in permitted industries and offices. Infants and small toddlers less than five (5) years of age, or those who cannot by practical reasons/means wear facemasks and comply with physical distancing are not allowed in the public markets, malls, grocery stores, and other public places.
For inbound travelers, they will be granted entrance if they provide an SPASS or vaccination card, or a negative result of Rapid Antigen Test done twelve (12) hours prior to travel, negative RT PCR, 2 days prior to travel.
Additionally, residents of the city are allowed to travel outside the city within 72 hours without having to go through triage, provided they have registered for the SPASS prior to their travel. In the absence of SPASS, travelers must obtain a travel slip from the border checkpoint.
Prohibited establishments include karaoke/videoke bars, clubs, and other establishments with live bands or acoustic performances; cockfighting and operation of cockpits, lottery and betting shops, other gaming establishments, as well as gatherings in residences (i.e. birthday parties, and the likes) with individuals not belonging to the same household, funfairs, and kid amusement areas such as playgrounds; all contact sports, face to face or in-person classes for basic, technical, vocational education, and trainings except those approved by the CIATF.
Allowed establishments may operate at a maximum capacity of 10% indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals, and 30% outdoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals. Allowed establishments include dine-in services for kiosks, restaurants, and eateries, personal care establishments like barbershops, hair spas, salons, nail spas, fitness studios, gyms provided that clients/workers/employees must be completely vaccinated and observe the minimum public health requirements.
Meanwhile, licensure or entrance/qualifying examinations administered by their respective government agency, are allowed given that they are authorized by the CIATF.
Also, in-person religious gatherings are allowed limited to the conduct of religious worship and/or service, at 30% of the venue capacity, provided that pastors, priests, rabbis, imams, or other religious ministers and assistants of these religious congregations have been fully vaccinated.
Gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 shall be allowed for a maximum of 5 days only. For the cremains of COVID-19 deceased, wake, or services, it shall be limited to immediate family members.
In addition, a curfew will be enforced throughout the city from 10:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m. by the city police office, as well as personnel from the Public Order and Safety Office (POSO) and other attached organizations.
As the total number of active cases rose to 922 by January 24, City Health Officer Dr. Henrietta Bagayao, said that the province is contemplating the possibility of escalation to Alert level 5 if the surge is not contained.
With this, members of CIATF, especially Mayor Darwin Estrañero, underscored that the Executive Order ensures stricter guideline implementation to combat the further spread of the virus and that public compliance is a must.
By Ruth Cupang