Briones: Don’t close the oval

·3 min read

Earlier this week, a fellow member of the A2Z Runners’ Club, which meets once a month to pay homage to that wonderful Filipino fiesta staple, the lechon pig, forwarded a post from the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC).

Translated into English, it is asking oval users -- sprinters, joggers, walkers, tiktokers, loiterers -- if they will agree to the plan to convert the facility into a mega isolation center of the City Government. At the bottom of the post, it says, “Let your voice be heard” and #CCSCCARES.

I love it when elections are right around the corner. All of a sudden, everyone is so polite and courteous.

On Friday afternoon, July 23, 2021, I saw City Councilors Dondon Hontiveros and Edu Rama and their entourage surveying the place. Or I guess that was what they were doing, which made me raise an eyebrow.

I initially assumed the plan to temporarily shut down the facility was not yet final. Otherwise, why pretend that public opinion would actually matter? But maybe I was wrong. Or maybe they were just there to enjoy the view and marvel at how city residents combat pandemic fatigue by exercising.

I mean, I get it. Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in the city have been going up the past couple of weeks.

As of Friday, the city logged 1,769 active cases, according to the Department of Health 7 case bulletin.

I’m not sure about the breakdown, but I think it’s safe to say that a little over 90 percent of the cases are mild, two or three percent are asymptomatic, with maybe just under two percent considered critical or severe.

And how do I know this? Because it has always been this way since the health crisis began at the end of March last year. Unless things have changed, then I stand corrected.

I also know that the Covid-19 wing of one private hospital in the city is full. I don’t know about the others but I only know of this particular hospital.

At any rate, my source told me that 99 percent of the admitted cases are unvaccinated individuals.

I get it. The City Government wants to prepare for a surge in Covid-19 cases in case the highly transmissible delta variant manages to sneak in to our shores. But shouldn’t it concentrate on making sure the variant never reaches the city instead?

I always believe that “prevention is better than the cure.” Although in the case of Covid-19, there is no cure but there is a vaccine that increases an individual’s chance of getting over an infection relatively unscathed.

So why not focus on vaccinating the public? Oh wait, the supply of vaccines is limited and sporadic, to say the least, as the City relies on doleouts from the health department. Also, there are still many out there who refuse to get inoculated.


If the City Government really doesn’t want its health infrastructure to be overwhelmed, it can always reopen barangay isolation centers. Classrooms at the City Central School and the Abellana National School, which surround the sports center, are empty. Why not use those? If authorities are afraid that the two schools are too close, then why not limit the entry to the oval to only those who are fully vaccinated.

Anyway, whatever the City decides, I’m sure it is only looking after the people’s welfare. After all, like the CCSC, it also #CARES.

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