COTABATO CITY: The enhanced community quarantine will be lifted in the Bangsamoro region — Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Cotabato City and 63 barangay (villages) in North Cotabato — on May 16, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) declared Tuesday.

Cabinet Secretary Mohd Asnin Pendatun (Photo by BPI-BARMM)

Bangsamoro Inter-Agency Task Force on Covid-19 spokesman and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Cabinet Secretary Mohd Asnin Pendatun said the region had been classified as low-risk level area with regard to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) transmission.

Pendatun said, “Wala po tayong naitalang kaso ng Covid-19 since May 1, at ito pong development na ito ay ating tinututukan. Ang huling kaso ay mula sa Sulu. (There have been no new recorded cases of Covid-19 in the region since May 1, 2020, but we are still closely monitoring this development, the last case recorded was in Sulu.)”

He noted that in spite of this development, the Bangsamoro government reminds its constituents to not be complacent and follow minimum health standards provided by the Department of Health (DoH).

“Kahit hindi na tayo under enhanced community quarantine o general community quarantine in the coming days, mainam na sundin ang mga minimum health standards base sa direktiba ng IATF particularly na sa Health department (Even if we are no longer under ECQ or GCQ in the coming days, it would be better if we follow the minimum health standards based on the directives of IATF, particularly, the Department of Health),” Pendatun said.

The minimum health standards include increasing physical and mental resilience through vitamin intake and exercise; reducing transmission through continuous wearing of personal protective equipment; observing correct hand washing; observing the cough etiquette; disinfecting the environment; reducing contact by physical distancing; and reducing the duration of infection.

As of May 11, based on the data presented by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of the Interior and Local Government, BARMM had tallied a total of seven probable cases, 284 suspected cases, and 11 Covid-confirmed cases.

Out of the 11 confirmed cases, seven have already recovered, four died, one was under strict home quarantine. There was zero admission in hospitals.

Meanwhile, the Regional Darul Ifta’ (RDI) of Bangsamoro has yet to lift its temporary suspension of the congregational prayers, including Taraweeh and Friday prayers, in mosques due to the coronavirus.

“Kasalukuyan pong hindi nali-lift ang pag-ban temporarily ng congregational prayers or other forms of religious gatherings dito po sa BARMM. Antabayanan po natin kung anuman ang additional guidelines mula sa Regional Darul Ifta (The temporary suspension of congregational prayers and other forms of religious gatherings in BARMM has not been lifted. We will wait for the further guidelines from the RDI),” Pendatun said.

In General Santos City (GenSan), Mayor Ronnel Rivera said business would slowly restart now that the city was placed under GCQ.

“The shift from ECQ to GCQ does not mean that GenSan is lowering its guard against the coronavirus. We will still sustain the precautionary measures such as the wearing of face masks and [physical] distancing in public places so we can defeat the coronavirus disease,” the mayor said.

Non-residents will still not be allowed to enter General Santos unless they belong to the exempted sector, such as those transporting food and other essential goods and services, among others.