Duterte orders Cimatu to oversee COVID-19 response in Cebu City
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has tasked Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to oversee the government’s COVID-19 response in Cebu City which has recently seen a spike in coronavirus infections.
In a speech aired Monday night, Duterte said Cimatu, a former Armed Forces chief, will serve as an “adjunct” official for the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
“All he has to do is to advise [the IATF here in] Manila that these things are being done, these things are not yet done, and these things must be done,” Duterte said.
The President then called on the Department of Health, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the National Task Force against COVID-19 to assist Cimatu in fulfilling his new designation.
Earlier this year, Duterte tasked Cimatu with coordinating the evacuation of overseas Filipino workers from the Middle East amid US-Iran tensions.
Cimatu will be the latest former military officer to aid the government’s COVID-19 response, joining the likes of Secretary Carlito Galvez and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
To date, there are 30,682 COVID-19 cases nationwide, including 8,143recoveries and 1,177 deaths.
Less restrictive coronavirus lockdowns have been maintained nationwide except for Cebu City which is now under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and Talisay City which is now under a modified ECQ due to high transmission rate and an increased demand for critical care.
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