GRANULAR lockdowns will be implemented in 21 Cebu City barangays with a high number of active coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases from July 16 to July 19, 2020.
This was the decision reached on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 by local and national officials to contain the spread of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella is set to issue an executive order to implement the lockdowns intended to slow down Covid-19 infections.
Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases Visayas Deputy Chief Implementer Melquiades Feliciano explained that a granular lockdown means the restriction is limited to a specific area, like a household or several houses, a street or compound where residents were exposed to an individual with Covid-19.
City Councilor Joel Garganera said in a meeting on Monday night, July 20, sample data from July 16 to 19 were presented.
As of Tuesday evening, the Department of Health, Cebu City Health Deparment, Association of Barangay Councils, Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and hospital representatives were still in the city command center harmonizing data from July 16 backwards.
"There’s a plan for a granular lockdown, but the final list is still dependent upon the outcome of this meeting," said Garganera, the IATF EOC deputy chief implementer in Cebu City.
Only sitios or streets with identified cases, not the entire barangay, will be locked down, said Cebu Covid-19 situation overseer Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.
The workers living in other sitios not on lockdown will be allowed to exit their villages and report to their workplaces, Cimatu said.
Cebu City is under modified enhanced community quarantine, which started on July 16, 2020 and will end on July 31, 2020.
Cimatu, a retired military general, said he will recommend to the IATF for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to place Cebu City under general community quarantine (GCQ) starting on Aug. 1.
He said they had received reports on the decrease in Covid-19 cases in the past days.
Under a GCQ status, public movement and transportation are less restrictive, and several non-essential businesses will be allowed to reopen to the public.
Cimatu, Labella and other officials discussed the mechanics of the lockdown in a meeting on Covid-19 response on July 21.
Feliciano, also a retired military general, said the lockdown will be implemented as soon as the laboratory data for the 14-day case report will be available to confirm the rise in cases in the 21 barangays and after discussion with the affected barangay officials on the ground situation.
Of the 21 barangays, recent data show that Lahug topped with 38 active cases; followed by Guadalupe with 29 active cases; Capitol Site, 23; Talamban, 23; Kamputhaw, 18; Mabolo, 18; Poblacion Pardo, 17; Tisa, 17; and Sambag 1, 15.
The other barangays with several active cases are Apas, 14; Labangon, 12; Basak Pardo, 11; Cogon Ramos, 10; Punta Princesa, 10; Sambag 2, nine; Quiot, nine; Zapatera, eight; Banilad, seven; Hipodromo, seven; Basak San Nicholas, seven; and Cogon Pardo, seven.
The Cebu City Government will provide for the provisions of affected families for the duration of the lockdown, Feliciano said.
Lockdown is one of the means to prevent the movement of people and the spread of the coronavirus to the rest of the community.
Implementing a lockdown also ensures that all residents exposed to Covid-19 are traced, tested and treated, Feliciano said.
Feliciano gave a scenario, describing the importance of a lockdown: There are 10 active cases in a barangay. The contract tracers will be deployed to track the residents exposed to the individuals positive for the coronavirus, and the Covid-19 patients will be extracted from the community and will be placed in isolation centers.
The immediate family and other residents exposed to the Covid-19 patients will be swabbed and quarantined in their homes for 14 days. They will not be allowed to go out and the government will supply their provisions.
The coverage of the lockdown will depend on the number of people exposed to the Covid-19 patients and the structure of the community, meaning whether it is densely populated or not. Contact tracing will continue until nobody tests positive for the virus, Feliciano said.
A lockdown, he said, normally lasts 14 days, and another validation will be conducted if the situation has improved and the lockdown will be lifted or not.
Feliciano said they are hoping to further bring down the number of active cases in the next two weeks as systems are already in place.
He said when they came in the middle of June there were only five contact tracers in Cebu City, resulting in the backlog and the rise in cases and deaths.
Now there are more than 100 contact tracers, and more are being trained to strengthen the city's contact tracing capacity.
"A lot of things are now in harmony, the health professionals, the business sector, and the political leaders. We need to have the upper hand, and the city should be proactive," Feliciano said. (PAC, MVG)