Cebu City to reintroduce liquor ban, adjust curfew

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THE Cebu City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has proposed implementing stricter measures in the entire city to curb the rise in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases.

The EOC, together with Acting Mayor Michael Rama and Inter-Agency Task Force-Visayas Chief Implementer retired general Melquiades Feliciano, met on Sunday, July 25, 2021, to discuss the Covid-19 situation in the city.

The Department of Health (DOH) 7 recorded 308 additional cases in the city on Saturday, July 24.

According to the DOH 7 data, the city has a total of 2,009 active cases.

Some of the measures the group came up with include reimplementing the liquor ban in bars and restaurants and adjusting the curfew to start at 10 p.m. instead of 11 p.m.

Feliciano said barangay captains told him they don’t have enough manpower to tackle various violations of health protocols in their communities.

“This one hour has a big difference to reduce the unnecessary activities,” Feliciano said.

Non-essential activities like parties and gatherings inside houses are discouraged, he said. For those holding wakes, the EOC proposed limiting the number of visitors to 10.

“Makakatulong ‘yan (That will help) to control the spread,” Feliciano said.

An executive order, to be signed by Rama, is underway for the implementation of stricter health protocols.

The officials also agreed that the EOC of the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu should coordinate closely. They said non-essential activities should be reduced, while information and education campaigns in barangays should be intensified.

Feliciano said the Covid-19 vaccination should also be stabilized, which is one of the best solutions to fight the pandemic.

The health care facilities in the city should also be more equipped to cater to Covid-19 patients.

The Cebu City Quarantine Center (CCQC) needs to reactivate more beds.

During the meeting, officials agreed to increase the number of beds for patients from 150 to 250.

The CCQC can accommodate Covid-19 patients with mild to severe symptoms.

The officials also agreed that the city needs a bigger quarantine center in case the number of cases continues to rise.

The acting mayor has instructed City Councilor Eduardo Rama Jr. to take charge for the possible use of the Cebu City Sports Center as a mega quarantine facility.

Feliciano admitted that hospitals have suffered from the lack of nurses, as some have opted to work abroad while there haven’t been any new graduates in the past two years because of the implementation of the K to 12 program, which added two years of senior high school to the previous 10-year basic education cycle.

He said the government is looking for ways to bring back nurses to the country by offering them higher salaries.

Rama said the City will also provide incentives to nurses in private hospitals.

In Cebu Province, the DOH 7 logged 207 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, the second highest number of new cases recorded in a day since Jan. 1. The highest number of new cases was 255, which was logged on July 23.

Cebu Province has a total of 1,769 active cases. It has the third most number of active cases in Central Visayas after Negros Oriental with 2,330 cases and Bohol with 1,718 cases.

Dr. Jaime Bernadas, DOH 7 director, acknowledged the increasing number of cases in the region.

As of July 24, he said 49.3 percent of available Covid beds, 49.8 percent of isolation beds and 58.7 percent of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in the region are occupied.

However, a critical care utilization rate within 60 percent is still considered safe, he said.

For One Cebu, which is composed of the three highly urbanized cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, Cebu Province and its component cities and municipalities, Bernadas said 48.3 percent of Covid beds, 63.5 percent of isolation beds and 50 percent of ICU beds are occupied.

“By today’s report, it may already go down because of the newly opened down referrals and Covid beds,” Bernadas told SunStar Cebu in a text message on Sunday.

He said the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) has started to operate a temporary treatment and monitoring facility (TTMF) near the Department of Social Welfare and Development 7 office as a step-down facility.

He said soon one more TTMF at the New Normal Oasis for Adaptation and a Home Complex at the South Road Properties will operate, which will mean an additional 240 rooms.

“It (VSMMC) has also opened 40 more ICU beds and another ward space for more Covid beds. Eversley (Eversley Childs Sanitarium and General Hospital), Cebu South Medical Center and SAMCH (Saint Anthony Mother and Child Hospital) also expanded capacities,” he told SunStar Cebu.

He said hospitals run by the Cebu Provincial Government are fully operating and have been admitting Covid-19 patients, while private hospitals have pledged to raise bed allocations for Covid-19 patients.

“Our ‘711’ is fully operational and navigating patients. Some private TTMFs and hotels have been oriented for this setup so they could call ‘711’ (DOH 7 HealthLine) for navigation of patients,” he said.

Of the 4,276 bed capacity of 48 hotel quarantine/isolation facilities in the region, 1,993 are occupied. (JJL, WBS)

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