THE Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases' decision to place Cebu City under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) status drew jeers and worries from netizens.
Several Cebuano netizens shared their sentiments on SunStar Cebu's social media platforms; many of them poked fun at the quarantine downgrade from the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) status by replacing the first word of MECQ with a Cebuano counterpart of the word "alike"—"Morag ECQ."
President Rodrigo Duterte approved the IATF recommendation to lower the quarantine status of Cebu City from ECQ to MECQ on Wednesday night, July 15, 2020.
Cebu City's MECQ status started on Thursday, July 16, and will end on Friday, July 31, 2020.
The National Government imposes community quarantine to slow down the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), which originated in Wuhan, a city in central China.
Displeased netizens pointed out that there is little to no difference between the ECQ and MECQ statuses, saying Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Cebu City.
"ECQ ra na gihapon. Mora man maayo ang serbisyo sa gobyerno inig lockdown. Gi-granular lockdown na lang unta nila (It is still ECQ. As if the government offers good services during lockdown. It would have been better to implement a granular lockdown)," Vince Leonard Sison said on Twitter.
Other netizens expressed their worries, saying their wallets are shrinking. They said they have to find ways to keep their families afloat as most businesses in Cebu City remain closed under MECQ.
"MECQ? Same pa rin sa ECQ—no work, no pay! Unya way klarong ayuda. Sakripisyo pa more mga Cebuano. Kaya pa? (MECQ? It's the same as ECQ—no work, no pay! Also, there's no clear aid. We have to sacrifice again, Cebuanos. Can you still hang in there?)" Facebook user Sa Rah said.
Earlier Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, overseer of the Covid-19 response in Cebu, had expressed his optimism that Cebu City's ECQ status might be downgraded because of the measures undertaken by the IATF, including the isolation of asymptomatic Covid-19 patients.
For some netizens, the IATF decision to place Cebu City under MECQ status is ineffective as it will only cause confusion among the masses.
"I don't think it changes much, to be honest. The IATF strategy, obviously, doesn't work," said Karl Codil, who added that the IATF could as well reconsider its decision.
Under MECQ, the mandatory stay-at-home order is still in effect and not all businesses can reopen yet; wearing of masks in public is a must and public transport is still suspended; the curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. is still enforced and mass gatherings are prohibited; and malls may open at limited capacity and government offices operate with a skeleton workforce.
Netizens remind their fellow Cebuanos to keep practicing safety protocols mandated by authorities to help flatten the curve.