This Week News

This Week in Northern Luzon (May 30 to June 5, 2020)

Get this week’s updates on how Northern Luzon adjusts to a new normal.

By: Antonette Louise Guiao | May 30, 2020
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Northern Luzon, COVID-19, Quarantine Updates, Traffic News, Health News, COVID-19 Testing

It’s been two months since the battle against COVID-19 began in the country. Each local government is continuously coming up with various ways of keeping the virus contained, and one way of doing so is by mass testing. Up north, provinces like Ilocos Norte and Baguio City are taking the necessary steps to detect COVID-19 patients faster while keeping everyone safe. These steps are taken even while Northern Luzon slowly transitions and adapts to the “new normal.”

Quarantine Updates

Updated guidelines for returning Baguio residents and workers released

In a social media post, Baguio City has released the list of updated guidelines and needed documents for all the returning residents of the province. The guidelines apply to all residents who were stranded outside of Baguio during the ECQ, workers and employees of establishments in Baguio that were temporarily closed due to ECQ, and residents in Baguio who must leave the city due to essential travel. Documents such as medical and clearance certificates must be secured, and each person must follow a process before he/she is allowed to leave/return to the city. The complete list of needed documents and step-by-step processes is available in the City of Baguio’s Public Information Office Facebook page. [1 & 2]

Traffic News

Buses going in and out of Baguio City still prohibited

Last May 21, 2020, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong made it clear that buses are still not allowed to travel in and out of Baguio City. He mentioned that a bus full of passengers, especially those coming from areas under ECQ, will be difficult to manage. Only 10% of public utility vehicles were deployed in the city due to the strict measures being implemented by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board. [3]

Ilocos Norte’s free ride service continues to ferry frontliners

Ilocos Norte’s local government has provided a “Libre a Pagluganan” (free ride) jeepneys to help transport healthcare workers, non-medical frontliners, and medical patients. “Libre a Pagluganan” was initially launched last March 22 with only 9 jeepneys. Now, a total of 15 jeepneys have been deployed at selected pick-up and drop off points. The drivers hired for the free ride service receive daily fuel subsidy and a salary of PhP340. The free ride service has successfully carried 5,663 frontliners and 275 medical patients. [4]

Shopping News

La Trinidad bans pork from 5 African Swine Fever-affected barangays

The local government unit of La Trinidad, Benguet prohibited the sale, transfer, and entry of pork from the following African Swine Fever or ASF-affected barangays: Barangay Bahong, Lubas, Pico, Puguis, and Wangal. After reports about the resurgence of ASF cases in town circulated, Mayor Salda issued the order immediately while the Office of Municipal Agriculturist conducted an examination and verification in the said areas. African Swine Fever is a severe viral disease that affects domestic and wild pigs. [5]

Updated schedule of additional businesses that reopened in Baguio

Now that Baguio City is under general community quarantine, more establishments were allowed to reopen. These businesses are considered ready and have successfully complied with the GCQ guidelines. Below are their following schedules:

1. Flower and landscape supply shops – alternate Monday to Wednesday/Thursday to Saturday schedules if located within the Baguio City Public Market; alternate Monday to Wednesday/Thursday to Saturday schedules if located within the Baguio Orchidarium; Thursday to Saturday if located outside the Baguio City Public Market and the Baguio Orchidarium.

2. Cellphone load stations and pasalubong stalls selling food items – alternate Monday to Wednesday/Thursday to Saturday schedules if located within shopping and retail centers such as the Baguio City Public Market, Maharlika Livelihood Center, Mabini Shopping Centers, Centermall, Porta Vaga, Gunting Enterprises, and similar indoor establishments.

3. Kitchenware supply stores and stalls – alternate Monday to Wednesday/Thursday to Saturday schedules if located within the Baguio City Public Market; Thursday to Saturday if located outside the Baguio City Public Market.

4. Textile supply stores may open every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday

Managers of the mentioned establishments must make sure to follow social distancing and strict health and safety guidelines. [6]

SM City Baguio releases precautionary measures

In a video posted on social media, SM City Baguio showed the strict safety measures that it follows to protect mall-goers from catching COVID-19. A ‘no mask, no entry’ policy is implemented, and everyone must go through thermal scanners and wipe their feet on disinfectant mats. Alcohol and hand sanitizers are provided at the entrance. Safety protocol officers are deployed around the mall and will be there to help mall-goers observe social distancing. Employees are required to wear masks and shields. Escalators are used one step apart, and elevators may only be filled at 50% capacity, and one-way movement in aisles must be followed. A specialized sanitation team will disinfect high-touch areas such as toilets, handrails, grocery carts, and baskets, and the entire mall will be deeply disinfected before and after closing. [7]

At a special COVID-19 meeting in Baguio City, National Anti-COVID Action Plan Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr. said that the place needs at least 3 molecular laboratories. Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said that Galvez’s decision regarding the molecular laboratories is based on the local government unit’s proposal. Magalong added that the city raised the need for three additional labs, with one preferably a private lab, to help Baguio in testing, detecting, and containing COVID-19. [8]

Ilocos Norte starts COVID-19 testing

The government of Ilocos Norte has started its strategic and targeted testing of medical and non-medical frontliners, and persons under quarantine using rapid test kits to speed up detection of COVID-19 cases. Governor Matthew Manotoc said that the provincial government has secured 1,000 rapid test kits for the first batch of testing. The province also received 300 rapid test kits as donations from Senator Bong Go. The provincial government promised to meet the minimum number of people required to undergo mass testing in a given population. Ilocos Norte is currently taking the needed steps in order to open its own COVID-19 testing laboratory, and COVID-19 related machines are in the process of being operationalized. [9]

Go to Yoorekka for more COVID-19 updates in Northern Luzon.

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About Antonette Louise Guiao
Antonette is a writer, a night owl, an extrovert, and a BTS ARMY. Her spare time is consumed by drawing digital vector art, sleeping, binge-watching Netflix series, and learning how to cook. An adventurer by heart, she aspires to travel the world with her family, try extreme outdoor activities, and taste all sorts of food in different countries.
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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