THE director of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 did not ask the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Infectious Diseases to place Cebu City on hard lockdown for three days before downgrading its quarantine status to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).
Brig. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro said he didn’t bring the matter up during any of their meetings.
He urged the public to report to his office any rumors concerning this so they can verify it. Otherwise, the public should just wait for official word from IATF officials like Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, whom President Duterte has entrusted to help oversee the government’s response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic in Cebu City.
However, Ferro said Secretary Carlito Galvez, IATF chief implementer, did suggest placing barangays in the city with a high number of Covid-19 cases on hard lockdown so residents can be checked if they’re virus carriers.
If, after the three-day period, the results are known, those who test positive will be placed in isolation and the lockdown will be eased, he said.
However, the suggestion has yet to be approved, Ferro said.
The police official said it’s similar to the granular lockdown that Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella had proposed.
Ferro said he still has no idea why his name was embroiled in the controversy. However, he believes there’s a group that wants to tarnish the reputation of the Philippine National Police and the IATF to derail anti-Covid-19 operations in the city.
Ferro also said he still has no idea what will happen to Cebu City after its ECQ status expires on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. He said the city may be placed on general community quarantine (GCQ), or not.
He suggested slowly easing the city’s quarantine status and downgrading it to MECQ while authorities continue to conduct contact tracing.
For seven days they will monitor the public to check if residents follow minimum health standards like wearing face masks and observing social distancing, he said.
Only then will the city’s quarantine status be further eased, he said.
He said they have to take it slow after what happened at the National Capital Region when it was placed on GCQ and the number of Covid-19 cases there spiked.
What the PRO 7 is doing now, Ferro said, is securing the complete list of Covid-19 cases from the City Health Department and the Department of Health 7 while his office continues with its contact tracing so it can get a clear picture of the Covid-19 situation in the city. (AYB, PJB)