Zamboanga Peninsula under MECQ from June 1-15 due to surge in COVID-19 cases

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Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur (CNN Philippines, May 31) — Zamboanga Peninsula will be placed under modified enhanced community quarantine for the first half of June, a provincial governor in the region said.

Zamboanga del Sur Gov. Victor Yu said the stricter community quarantine classification will be in effect from June 1-15 due to the surge in COVID-19 infections in the area.

"The Regional Task Force informed us that their request was approved for the implementation of MECQ for Region 9. We were delighted as the MECQ is stricter compared to the GCQ," Yu said on Sunday.

Zamboanga del Sur Medical Center (ZDSMC) and Integrated Provincial Health Office chief Dr. Anatalio Cagampang Jr. said the jump in cases in the province is alarming since the referral hospital could no longer accommodate additional COVID-19 patients. This comes even as the hospital increased its beds in the intensive care unit from three beds to six beds.

Cagampang also noted a shortage of oxygen tanks as the hospital needs 144 tanks per day, but it only receives 100 to 120 tanks every other day from Cagayan de Oro City. In some cases, he added, families of the patients had to purchase oxygen tanks outside the hospital or sometimes borrow from other hospitals.

“Even the level 1 hospitals who do not accept severe COVID-19 cases were forced to accept to assist the ZDSMC. All hospitals and infirmaries in the province were overwhelmed already,” Cagampang explained.

Malacañang is expected to announce on May 31 the latest community quarantine classification for the rest of the country.

The Philippines recorded 7,058 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday, pushing the nationwide tally to 1,223,627. Of the total cases, 53,757 or 4.4% are active infections.

The Department of Health earlier said all regions in Mindanao are seeing a rise in cases, with faster increase of infections in Regions 10, 11, and Caraga.