CHURCHGOERS attending the Misa de Gallo in 23 parishes spread across Cebu City have become more compliant with health protocols, a far cry from when the novena of dawn masses started last Dec. 16, 2020.
City Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), said he “felt relieved” that the crowd has become more orderly.
“Overall, the compliance of the minimum health protocol was properly observed,” said Garganera in a statement on Sunday, Dec. 20.
He said strict enforcement of quarantine protocol will continue to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
He said the EOC and law enforcement groups held a critique session after the fifth day of the dawn mass on Sunday, Dec. 20, to assess the situation.
Garganera said they all agreed during the meeting that they would not let their guard down for the remaining four dawn masses.
On Monday, Dec. 21, he said Kaoshiung buses will be fielded to transport minors and the elderly back to their respective barangays.
Minors below 15 years old and senior citizens above 65 years old have been observed attending dawn masses despite the explicit ban on their presence.
Garganera said minors, toddlers or babies and the elderly are not allowed inside church premises.
He urged the public not to be complacent even though the number of Covid-19 cases in the city has fallen in the past few weeks.
“Yes, but not to be complacent, the more we up our guards, especially (on) the last day,” he said.
Garganera said it has helped that church and city officials have provided more spaces for churchgoers where social distancing can be implemented and monitored.
That is why parking lots inside church premises and roads surrounding churches have been cleared to accommodate more people, he said.
They don’t have to worry about not being able to hear the mass or watch the proceedings inside since sound systems and video screens have been installed outside, he said.
He said barangays have stepped in with force multipliers to help monitor churchgoers.
Garganera hopes this “orderly” situation can be sustained until the last day of the Misa de Gallo on Dec. 24.
Mayor Edgardo Labella had asked Garganera and Councilors Phillip Zafra and Dave Tumulak to coordinate with police station commanders to make sure everything was in order.
Meanwhile, the number of barangays which have reported no Covid-19 case in the last 14 days has dropped to 53 on Sunday. That leaves 27 barangays with active cases.
On Dec. 13, 58 of the city’s 80 barangays reported zero transmission.
Garganera said Barangays Buot, Taptap Paril, and Sudlon 1 have remained Covid-free since the start of the pandemic in the middle of March.
As of Sunday, Cebu City had 85 active cases with 34 staying at the New Normal Oasis for Adaptation and a Home Complex at the South Road Properties, 11 at the IC3 Bayanihan Center, 20 in government hospitals in the city and 20 either in isolation in private hospitals or in hotels.
A total of 9,967 have already recovered out of 10,740 infected individuals, or a recovery rate of 92.8 percent.
Only 9.09 percent of the 118,103 individuals tested came out positive.
The death toll from Covid-19 in Cebu City stands at 689.
Garganera told SunStar Tonight that should there be a spike of Covid-19 cases in the city after the holidays, the EOC will be in a better situation to handle it.
Cebu City is under modified general community quarantine until the end of December. (JJL)