AS CEBU City downgrades to general community quarantine (GCQ) from August 1 to 15, 2020, three areas in Barangay Bacayan were recommended to be placed under lockdown due to the rise of Covid-19 cases.
Retired Major General Melquiades Feliciano, deputy chief implementer of the Covid-19 Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) in the Visayas, said barangay officials and the chief of police of Cebu City conducted an assessment on Friday, July 31, 2020, in the three areas.
The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Cebu monitored 10 cases on Thursday, July 30, 2020, an increase of more than 50 percent from the four recorded cases on Monday, July 26.
Feliciano said the recommendation of the barangay officials will be approved by the EOC-IATF after further verification.
Earlier, the EOC-IATF placed six areas in five barangays under granular lockdown after recording the highest number of new cases in the last 14 days.
Under lockdown are Sitio C. Mina Extension in Brgy. Mabolo, Sitio Cekalco in Brgy. Labangon, Tuada compound in Brgy. Tisa, Sitio San Isidro and Abellanosa Compound in Brgy. Quiot and Sitio Eyha in Brgy. Guadalupe.
When an area is placed under lockdown, the Cebu City government will provide for the food of the affected areas within the 14-day quarantine period.
Feliciano said he has been encouraging barangay officials to recommend areas in their barangays with notable high cases to be placed under lockdown.
“This is an opportunity for them to stop the spread of the virus in their community and the city is willing to help them,” Feliciano said.
On the other hand, Feliciano reminded the public that even if Cebu City is now under GCQ, the city is still under quarantine.
“Meaning only Apors are allowed to go out, quarantine passes are still required for people who go out of their homes and the stay-at-home protocol is still in effect,” Feliciano said.
He pointed out that “opening up is okay but we have to be very vigilant because there are more movements.”
He said four of his colleagues from Manila that he brought to Cebu to help him, even got infected with the coronavirus, including his bodyguard.
He added that they have been complying with the health protocol yet his team has been comprised.
He advised the public to strictly observe the minimum health standards of wearing a mask when going out, washing hands regularly and keep distance or stay away from crowded places.
Mary Jean Loreche, M.D., chief pathologist and spokesperson of the Department of Health (DOH) 7 also reminded the public to always observe the minimum health standards.
Loreche said: “The downgrade of community quarantine to GCQ is a challenge that we all should embrace with trepidation and a commitment to observe the minimum health standards. GCQ is not a permit to loosen up in our vigilance to observe the guidelines. Let’s all make this GCQ work to our favor.”
Meanwhile, Feliciano is confident that the gains of Cebu City in the fight against Covid-19 will be sustained even under GCQ.
He said: “The systems are in place. The EOC is operating efficiently at 95 percent. We are now harmonizing interventions down to the barangay level.”
He added the city now has higher control in preventing the spread of the virus. The lockdowns, he said, is an indication of where the virus is.
The contact tracing of the daily new cases is a positive intervention to immediately control, isolate and treat the infected.
Meanwhile, the Cebu City government can still use the schools in the city as barangay isolation centers (BICs) for asymptomatic Covid-19 patients.
Ian Kenneth Lucero, City Director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of the Emerging Infectious Disease (RIATF-MEID) issued a resolution on July 30, allowing local government units (LGUs) to utilize classrooms until Aug. 15.
“Their mayors can write a letter to Secretary Eduardo Año or Secretary Carlito Galvez for approval of the extension beyond that date,” said Lucero.
The RIATF-MEID first gave LGUs until July 31 to use the classrooms but later learned that there are still patients whose quarantine period won’t end until August.
Aside from Cebu City, other LGUs in Central Visayas can take advantage of the extension until mid-August.
Cebu City has 19 BICs from which thousands of asymptomatic patients have been released after having tested negative after 14 days in isolation. These recovered patients were able to return home
with 25 kilos of rice from the City Government. (MVG / PAC/ CCP)