QC govt blames drinking sessions for local Covid lockdowns

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The Quezon City Government is alarm over the increasing number of special lockdown areas traced to drinking sessions among families, friends and neighbors.

Index cases in eight out of the 27 areas under granular or special concern lockdown were found to have been infected in drinking sessions within their areas. They then went on to contaminate community members in other superspreader events. A drinking session and wedding in Barangay Matandang Balara for example, yielded 69 confirmed cases with 25 still pending as of June 1.

“This is what we want to prevent – Covid-19 positive individuals infecting others in social gatherings without minimum health standards being observed. This is why we keep reminding people that gatherings such as ‘inuman’ sessions are still strictly prohibited,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said.

A total of 88 index cases have been confirmed in the following areas: Del Mundo St. in Barangay Talipapa; an area in K-10th St. in Barangay East Kamias; an area in Harvard St. in Barangay E. Rodriquez; Manggahan Citizen St., Interville III in Barangay San Agustin; Area 5 in Barangay Capri; Labordo Compound in Barangay Tandang Sora; Area 7, Luzon Ave., in Barangay Matandang Balara; and an area in Geronimo St., in Barangay Sta. Monica.

Around 1,017 families are now under lockdown in special concern lockdown (SCL) areas all of whom are undergoing swab testing. The city’s SCL areas decreased to as low as 16 on May 20, but have risen to 29 as of June 1.

Mayor Belmonte denounced the wanton disregard of the community’s welfare, and has instructed the city’s law enforcement agencies to act sternly and swiftly against violators of ordinances and guidelines.

“We are doing our best to control our numbers and yet some individuals continue to violate our protocols. We do not condone this disastrous behavior and will immediately impose legal sanctions on all those involved,” Belmonte said.

Residents and organizers of public gatherings who violate RA 11332 or the “Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act” or any of the city’s ordinances will be given ordinance violation receipts (OVRs), show-cause orders, or be slapped with cases if proven not to have implemented proper health protocols in their activities. Private gatherings such as religious activities, wakes, weddings and other milestone events will continue to be governed by the prevailing quarantine guidelines issued by the IATF and the City Government.

Moreover, the law enforcement cluster of the city government together with barangay officials will now conduct foot patrols to monitor even alleys and inner roads, where people congregate for social activities such as drinking sessions.

Belmonte likewise urged residents and neighbors of erring individuals to report these gatherings to Quezon City Hotline 122 so officials can immediately respond to these complaints.

“We encourage our residents to call out their neighbors and report these matters to us so that we can police these areas. It is our collective duty to stop the spread of this virus,” Belmonte said.

The city government also issued a set of guidelines to ensure the strict observance of minimum health protocols in the implementation of humanitarian activities by both public officials and the private sector.

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