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One COVID-19 case can trigger lockdown of an entire condo floor—Metro Manila Council

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Sep 16, 2021 3:51 pm Updated Sep 17, 2021 2:23 pm

A single confirmed COVID-19 case in a condominium building is enough to lock down an entire floor, based on the pilot testing guidelines of the new COVID-19 alert level system in Metro Manila starting Sept. 16, according to Metro Manila Council chairman and Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez.

At the “Laging Handa” briefing on Sept. 15, Olivarez said two confirmed COVID-19 cases may trigger a lockdown in a compound, street or sitio.

A granular lockdown, which would be in force for at least 14 days, can also apply to a floor of a condominium building and households if one resident turns out positive for COVID-19.

Katulad po sa isang floor ng isang condominium, basta magkaroon lang ng isang case doon, iyong mismong isang floor na iyon ay puwede na natin i-lockdown po iyan,” Olivarez said.

Speaking with ANC’s Headstart on Sept. 17, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said that though one COVID-19 positive case may trigger a lockdown in a floor of a condominium building, it is not automatic.

Malaya said the lockdown will still depend on the situation of the person who is COVID-19 positive. As part of the standard operating procedure, contact tracing will immediately follow after the individual is confirmed positive for COVID-19, the undersecretary explained.

“So if it is determined that an individual went around the floor and talked to people, then that would require shutting down or locking down the entire floor,” he said.

“But if it was proven that an individual just went to the grocery or was infected on the way to and from the market and just went straight to his unit, that would not require shutting down the entire floor,” Malaya further explained.

Meanwhile, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement that along with the alert level system, granular lockdowns will be implemented on identified “critical zone” areas by the LGU regardless of alert level.

He added that these granular lockdowns may be imposed on individual houses where one household member is confirmed positive for COVID-19, residential buildings, streets, blocks, puroks, subdivisions and villages.

Everyone living in the area under granular lockdown would be prohibited from leaving except for healthcare workers, uniformed personnel and departing or arriving overseas Filipino workers.

Residents of Barangay Pinyahan, Quezon City receive food aid after the area was placed under lockdown following a rise in COVID-19 cases in the barangay. Photo by Michael Varcas/The Philippine STAR

According to the DILG, those in areas under granular lockdown who have a COVID-19 vaccine appointment would have to reschedule their inoculation as they will not be allowed to go out. But speaking with GMA News Online, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said those individuals will be prioritized in the vaccination centers once the lockdown is lifted.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development and the LGUs will provide food packs to affected residents in locked down areas, but there will be no cash assistance, the chairman said.

Metro Manila is under general community quarantine (GCQ) with Alert Level 4 starting Sept. 16, after over a month of being under the strictest community quarantine classifications. (With a report from OneNews PH)