Ilocos Norte town goes on MECQ after COVID-19 cases spike from 4 to 76

Health workers in Dingras town, Ilocos Norte province conduct coronavirus tests for residents amid a surge in COVID-19 cases. PHOTO FROM DINGRAS LGU

LAOAG CITY—The deathly spiral of COVID-19 cases in Dingras, Ilocos Norte province forced local officials to enforce the more restrictive modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in the town starting on Wednesday (April 28) until further notice.

On Tuesday (April 27), Ilocos Norte Gov. Matthew Marcos Manotoc issued an executive order enforcing MECQ on the town following a recommendation made by Dingras Mayor Joefrey Saguid.


MECQ is the second strictest quarantine classification in the Philippines.

Dingras, which is also known as the rice granary of Ilocos Norte, was previously on the less restrictive modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Local officials had expressed alarmed at the surge of cases in the town. Two weeks ago it had only four active cases but these rose to 76 by Wednesday.

On Monday (April 26), the town had recorded a COVID-19 death–a 67-year-old woman who died due to complications from the disease, according to the provincial government.

While the town is on MECQ, the movement of people would be limited to only one member of every household allowed to “access essential goods and service,” according to Manotoc.

Curfew and a ban on alcoholic drinks would be imposed from 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m., while all forms of nonessential social gatherings are banned, the governor said.

All vehicles, which would need to pass through Dingras to reach the eastern towns of Marcos, Banna, Nueva Era and Solsona, would be diverted with all entry and exit points in the town to have checkpoints.

At least 55 more new active infections had been added to the COVID-19 tally of Ilocos Norte on Tuesday, local health data showed.

Of 471 active cases in the province so far, 116 come from Laoag City, 106 from San Nicolas town and 76 from Dingras.

So far, Ilocos Norte has recorded a total of 1,773 COVID-19 cases with 1,290 recoveries and 12 deaths.


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