Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has ordered the closure of the Hall of Justice building and its annex after four court officers and employees tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In a July 7 letter, Belmonte – who herself tested positive for the coronavirus -- told Regional Trial Court’s Executive Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert and Metropolitan Trial Court’s Executive Judge Ace Alagar of her decision to temporarily shut down the Hall of Justice building and its annex.
“The City Epidemiological and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU) advised the City of the necessity for urgent action to prevent an outbreak,” her letter read.
Belmonte said the temporary closure is an emergency containment measure to save lives, and that it will last for seven days or until the CESU completes the appropriate testing and containment measures.
The city government is in constant consultation and coordination with the executive judges concerned, along with the city’s health department and the Office of the Court Administrator, toward testing and health monitoring of court personnel and their clientele, the mayor assured.
Belmonte said she is authorized under Section 6 (e) of Republic Act 11332 to enforce measures during epidemic or outbreak to prevent spread of disease.
The move is in accordance with Section 13 of Office of the Court Administrator Circular No. 101-2020 authorizing local government units to impose lockdowns in city halls wherein courts are located, she added.
Dr. Rolly Cruz, City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit head, said they will conduct exhaustive contact tracing of all those who were in close contact with the court officers and employees who were found positive, and perform follow-up testing as necessary.
The city’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office has started the thorough surface disinfection and misting of the whole city hall complex.