Briones: All vulnerable

Publio J. Briones III
·2 min read

According to the Department of Health (DOH), 2,241 new cases were reported on Sunday, July 19, 2020, and 1,625 of 72 percent were logged in Metro Manila.

In fact, several hospitals in the National Capital Region have announced that their facilities to treat patients with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) have reached or are nearing full capacity over the past week.

The metro has seen a spike in infections since it was placed on general community quarantine (GCQ).

Meanwhile, here in Cebu City, the only local government unit in the whole archipelago on modified enhanced community quarantine, the DOH 7 recorded 77 new cases on Saturday, July 18.

Malacañang thought our Covid-19 situation to be so bad that it deployed 150 members of the Special Action Force, an elite unit of the Philippine National Police, to help local authorities enforce community quarantine protocol last month. It also sent Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, a retired military general, to lead the city’s Covid-19 response.

By the way, these people the Palace sent never went through quarantine when they arrived on our shores. We’re talking about 150 persons who might have been exposed to the infection while still at home and they’ve been going around the city like they own it. Heck, I don’t even know where they all come from.

Cimatu, who I’m sure never arrives alone, and other Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases officials, who have been flying in and out of Cebu since the pandemic began in March, also have never subjected themselves to the required isolation.

If a friend on Facebook hadn’t raised a ruckus about this, it would have completely slipped my mind.

My friend is right. These outsiders have been taking a gamble with their lives and ours as well. They might have brought the disease to Cebu unwittingly from their place of origin. Or, since Cebu City has been dubbed the epicenter of Covid-19 in the country, they could have been infected here, again, unwittingly, and carried the disease when they went home because that’s the nature of a pandemic.

Anyway, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate what they’ve done. Because I do.

In fact, I grudgingly admit the situation had gotten out of hand when Cebu City was placed on GCQ in the beginning of June and some kind of intervention was needed.

But if they really want to help us, they should just stay at home and heed their own advice, especially with what’s happening in Metro Manila right now. They can monitor Cebu City’s situation from there with the help of technology.

I don’t need to remind them that Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, doesn’t distinguish between Malacañang officials and “hard-headed” and “stupid” residents of Cebu City.