While most quarters expect and look forward to Cebu City’s quarantine status being downgraded from general community quarantine (GCQ) to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), Mayor Edgardo Labella thinks otherwise. The GCQ status of Cebu City and other local government units (LGUs) nationwide will expire on Saturday, Aug. 15. Maybe President Duterte and the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases will make an announcement regarding the matter soon.
Labella said he wants Cebu City to remain on GCQ to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). Police Regional Office 7 Director Albert Ignatius Ferro supports Labella’s move.
Labella justified his stand, saying “it is very important that there are still restrictions, especially in the movement of people,” although he wants to reopen the economy as many sectors have been affected by the lockdown and restrictions under ECQ and GCQ.
Labella wants a “balancing act.” He wants to protect public health and at the same time reopen the economy. Placing the city under heavy restrictions will also jeopardize the economy as small and medium businesses and workers will be affected. Whatever our quarantine status, the virus still exists. I hope Cebuanos will understand and will not take it personally against Labella. He is just doing his job to protect the people.
Under GCQ, minimum public health standards must be complied with at all times. The movement of all persons is limited to accessing essential goods and services and for work in offices or industries permitted to operate. Movement for leisure purposes is not allowed. There is a curfew for those under 21 years old and 60 years old and above and those other with underlying conditions or other health risks and for pregnant women. Work-from-home and with half of employees reporting to work arrangements are encouraged and public transportation is limited.
Under MGCQ status, the environment is more relaxed. Gatherings for religious and other purposes are allowed with certain conditions. Movie screenings, concerts, sporting events and other entertainment activities, religious and work conferences are also allowed provided participants are limited to 50 percent seating or venue capacity.
Outdoor non-contact sports and exercises such as walking, jogging, running, biking, golf, swimming, tennis, badminton, equestrian, range shooting and skateboarding are allowed. For me, these activities are not essential.
Regarding movement of people, in areas on MGCQ, it shall be limited to accessing essential goods and services, for work in the offices or industries permitted to operate and public transportation are back to normal operations. So, with this situation, with more people outside of their residences, there is a possibility of a massive community transmission.
Until a vaccine is discovered, our lives will never be the same again and we are not going back to normal. Mag-agwanta ug mag-sakripisyo lang usa ta. (Let’s bear with the restrictions and sacrifice in the meantime.)