Cebu City COVID-19 lockdown likely to go ‘granular’
CEBU CITY—Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, President Rodrigo Duterte’s COVID-19 point man here, suggested the city be lifted out of a hard lockdown and added a new term for what he wanted to do next—granular lockdown.
“Instead of putting the whole city on lockdown, we will implement a granular lockdown,” said Cimatu at a press conference in a hotel here late Wednesday (June 24).
“That is part of the new methods that we will enforce,” he said in statements that could further add to the confusion that’s gripping the people of Cebu City over national government COVID-19 policies.
Granular lockdowns mean shutting down borders of select villages or communities with high COVID-19 cases.
Cimatu said Cebuanos should aspire for an easing of quarantine classification to bring the local economy back to life.
He said he hoped that the decline in number of new cases in the last three days would continue.
He urged the people, however, to heed health protocol imposed by the national government to stop the spread of coronavirus.
On June 24, the city recorded 60 new cases, 11 deaths and 65 recoveries. This brought the total number of cases in the city alone to 4,539 and the number of fatalities to 100. There were at least 2,242 recoveries listed.
Cimatu said he also saw the need to address manpower shortage in the health sector in the city. The number of doctors and nurses in the city’s hospitals is not enough, he said.
Cimatu and local officials would meet again on Thursday (June 25) to draw a policy about quarantine passes.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año had ordered the cancellation of all 250,000 quarantine passes in the city effective 10 p.m. on June 23 after learning that many people continued to loiter the streets in defiance of ECQ.
People, who want to buy food, can do so only in their villages. Exempted, though, are health care workers, call center agents and bank employees.
Mayor Edgardo Labella said the city government could give only one quarantine pass per household as had been done in Metro Manila.
“There was no strategic issuance of passes for which reason there were some household that got three to four passes. This time, the issuance will be very selective,” he said.
While the city is under ECQ, Labella said the city government will provide aid to residents using funds approved by the city council last week.
Of P1.9 billion approved by the city council, Labella said P500 million was intended to provide food and other necessities to locked down residents.
“To my fellow Cebuanos, let us be patient. We have to sacrifice since this is for all of us,” said the mayor.
“Be a hero, not only to yourself, but also to your family and fellow Cebuanos,” he said.
“If you have nothing important to do, stay at home. If you go out of the house, heed the health protocols so we can fight this invisible enemy. And let us not forget to invoke divine providence,” he added.
Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia said the province was reviving strict border controls with the city starting midnight of June 27.
“Travel to and from Cebu City will be severely restricted,” she said.
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