ONLY 10 of the 50 local government units under the Cebu Provincial Government’s jurisdiction have no active cases of Covid-19, a significant drop from the number in December.
In Cebu City, only 19 of 80 barangays have not reported infections in the past 14 days. This happened after the number of barangays with active transmission of Covid-19 increased to 61 as of Jan. 24.
As for the Covid-19 situation in Cebu Province, the municipalities of Alcoy, Alegria, Aloguinsan, Boljoon, Oslob, San Francisco, Pilar, Tudela, Tabuelan and Tuburan have recorded no new infections, according to the Integrated Provincial Health (IPHO) report on Jan. 23, 2021.
In contrast, there were 35 municipalities that reported zero Covid-19 cases in the last week of December 2020.
Based on the IPHO’s latest data, Cebu Province has a total of 498 active cases, 6.6 percent of the 7,586 total cases. The province recorded 6,652 recoveries, or 87.8 percent of the total cases, which means that more than 400 others died.
In Mandaue City, the number of active cases increased elevenfold from Dec. 31, 2020 to Jan. 24, 2021. Only 20 active cases were reported on the last day of 2020, but the active cases increased to 230 on Jan. 24.
The city mayor’s executive secretary, John Eddu Ibañez, attributed the increase in active cases to their aggressive contact tracing efforts.
Also at the Mandaue City Hall, the number of its offices placed on lockdown has risen to three.
The Mandaue City Legal Office (MCLO) was closed on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, after one of its employees tested positive for Covid-19. Earlier this month, the Mandaue City Engineering Office and the Office of the Building Official were placed on lockdown after four employees of the two offices tested positive for Covid-19.
Ibañez said they immediately conducted contact tracing after receiving the reports of the employees’ positive results. The 32 MCLO employees were swabbed.
Cebu City cases
Cebu City logged 97 cases of Covid-19 on Jan. 23, the highest number of daily cases recorded in the city since it was placed under modified general community quarantine in August 2020. The cases came from 36 barangays.
This number of cases prompted the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which is composed of different agencies and departments in the city, to agree on Monday, Jan. 25, to strictly enforce the health protocol.
The Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) recommended to the Cebu City Government to move the start of the curfew from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The existing executive order in Cebu City mandates a six-hour curfew, which starts at 11 p.m. and ends at 5 a.m.
Lt. Col. Wilbert Parilla, deputy director for operations, said they have observed that there were more quarantine violators with the late start of the curfew.
City Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of the EOC, said the EOC will take up the CCPO’s suggestion to move the curfew hours and forward it to the mayor, who has the final say on the matter.
As of Jan. 25, the CCPO had apprehended 221 community quarantine violators in checkpoints in barangays. Common violations included not wearing masks and the failure to carry quarantine passes.
In the conduct of Oplan Bulabog, the CCPO arrested 1,086 adult violators and 17 minors violating quarantine.
In a separate interview, CCPO Director Col. Josefino Ligan urged barangay officials to follow Barangay Guadalupe, which for two Sundays starting Jan. 24, has ordered non-essential establishments to be closed. Essential establishments like eateries, pharmacies and remittance centers will remain open.
Authorities will strictly implement the curfew and use of quarantine passes in the next two weeks. Only authorized persons outside of residence and those with essential errands are allowed to go out on Sunday.
Ligan said the Guadalupe model can be used in barangays with high numbers of Covid-19 cases.
The CCPO will put in place the barangay control points, and police officers will conduct patrols to disperse gatherings in the interior parts of barangays.
Police Regional Office 7 Director Ronnie Montejo said he will deploy additional personnel, half of the Crisis Response Battalion, to help the CCPO.
Ligan also hopes for the return of civilian force multiplier Task Force Kasaligan, a group that helped the CCPO in monitoring quarantine violators in barangays.
The Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) is now also involved as law enforcers will not only apprehend persons who are still in the streets beyond curfew hours, but also those persons riding both government and private vehicles.
Garganera said if during the investigation the individuals riding government or private vehicles have no valid reasons for going out, they will be considered curfew violators.
The CCTO will also check if the individuals on board are under the influence of liquor.
Garganera said the EOC will also start accepting photos or videos from the public through its Facebook page of any mass gathering or people who violated quarantine protocols. The videos or photos will be investigated before they will be posted on the EOC’s Facebook page.
“We need public participation here. We cannot do this all by ourselves,” said Garganera.
Cebu City police station commanders have been instructed to implement strict enforcement of the health policies and meet with the village chiefs in their respective jurisdictions.
Garganera said the rescue operations of the mendicants, especially minors, will be intensified this time.
City Environmental and Sanitation Enforcement Team (Ceset) head Grace Luardo said the children who will be rescued will be brought to San Roque Gym before they will be brought to the facility at the North Reclamation Area.
The Ceset and the Department of Social Welfare and Services will coordinate with the parents of the rescued children.
Luardo said the parents who used their children to beg for money will be slapped with P500 in fines or community service.
The cases of Covid-19 in Cebu City had reached 11,861 with 891 active cases as of Jan. 24.
The city recorded an 8.21 percent positivity rate out of the 144,465 individuals tested.
Despite the increase in Covid-19 cases in the city, this does not mean the city should be reverted back to general community quarantine, said Garganera.
Garganera said the critical care facility, mortality rate and positivity rate should be considered when authorities think of changing the city’s community quarantine status.
Cebu City’s occupancy rate in 15 hospitals is at 27.5 percent.
The current mortality rate in the city is at 5.91 percent or a total of 702 who died due to the disease. (ANV, JJL, AYB, KFD)