IT'S never too late for the Cebu City Government to strictly enforce the quarantine and health protocols by limiting the number of people going inside the grocery stores or supermarkets, which are mostly found in the malls, even if the city is already under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
I have noticed that even if the malls have strict health protocols, like asking the person who is going inside the mall to write his/her name, address and temperature on a piece of paper, but I doubt if there is control of how many should go inside. It's even worse in the public markets because no one is securing the place or controlling the number of persons going inside the market.
The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), headed by Councilor Joel Garganera found out that some 30 "Covid-19 patients" have gone to grocery stores. The news is truly disturbing. As to how these alleged "Covid-19 patients" got out from their hospital confinement or home quarantine should be explained because it means they are still positive of the virus hence they are carriers. I hope the EOC was not misquoted.
Because of this incident, Councilor Garganera will limit the number of persons going inside the grocery stores or supermarkets. He will also recommend to restrict the senior citizens and those below 21 years old in their homes. But the public markets are not included that, as I have written in my columns several times, some vendors only cover their chins with the face mask instead of their mouth and nose and customers don't observe physical distancing.
Limiting the number of people who get inside the grocery stores or supermarket is appropriate. But I respectfully disagree with the recommendation of Councilor Garganera to restrict the senior citizens in their homes. This would be unhealthy for the able-bodied senior citizens and also contrary to the IATF several resolutions the allow them to have access to basic necessities.
There should be a classification, so to speak, because there are senior citizens who are still capable and able to do what they usually do and are still exercising their profession. It should not be overlooked that the age of senior citizen starts at 60 and most of them are still practicing their respective profession or are businessmen and many are not yet retired from their jobs.
One of the purposes in lowering the status of a local government unit (LGU) to MGCQ from enhanced or general community quarantine is to spur our economy that slumbered after several months that it was under ECQ due to this deadly corona virus. One of the indicators that an economy is animated and dynamic is when more people are working or buying and business activity is upbeat.
Restricting what the people should usually or normally do would not be good for the economy. What is needed is the strict enforcement of the laws on quarantine and preventive health measures, like the mandatory wearing of face mask, distancing, and regular washing of hands with soap or applying alcohol. Taiwan's template could be replicated here. Our problem is that some people are hardheaded this is largely because enforcement is lackadaisical.
If I may suggest, the Cebu City Government should not leave behind the public (pocket) markets in the barangays in strict enforcement of the health protocols. As I've repeatedly said that I now sound now like a broken record, some vendors in public markets do not wear properly their face mask. I've advised them many times but it seems they don't care for others' safety and their own.