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Threat of new lockdown looms in Cebu City

Officials worry over rising COVID cases that can lead to reimposition of strict quarantine
/ 05:04 AM November 14, 2020

CEBU CITY—Officials here were mulling over placing this city under another strict lockdown if new cases of the coronavirus disease continues to rise in the coming weeks.

Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of Cebu City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), said they found it worrisome that the number of the daily virus cases in the city had been increasing again.

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From a single-digit or no recorded case during daily tallies in the last few weeks, the number of new cases in the city rose to 13 on Tuesday, 28 on Wednesday and 10 on Thursday, bringing the city’s active cases to 196.

Garganera also noted that there were more new infections than recoveries in the past seven days.

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“This data serves as a warning. Our government, the police, the barangays and front-liners can only do so much. We need the cooperation of the entire populace,” Garganera said on Friday.

“If other First World countries, with much superior health services, experienced a second wave and lockdowns, how much more us? What good will be our gains if the few continue to violate our health protocols,” he added.

Garganera said the EOC would meet with the local police for the latter to strictly enforce health protocols, such as the wearing of masks and face shields, physical distancing, and staying indoors when there is nothing important to do outside.

Alarming trend

He said that if the city’s residents would continue to disregard health protocols, they might celebrate Christmas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the strictest form of lockdown imposed by the government.

So far, no locality in the country is currently under ECQ, which requires businesses to temporarily close and limits the movement of people.

Based on their monitoring, Garganera said a number of individuals had defied the ban on mass gatherings, with some even renting houses where they held parties.

“People tend to relax. This is very alarming. If this trend continues, then it’s not (far-fetched) that before the end of the month, we will be placed under lockdown again,” said Garganera.

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“This is a warning because a lot are no longer complying with the health protocols,” he added.

On June 16, Cebu City was placed under ECQ due to a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases as well as its problem of providing critical health-care assistance to patients.

Camp Crame even sent to the city 160 elite policemen from the Special Action Force and additional policemen from other regions to strictly enforce the health measures.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu was also appointed by President Duterte to oversee the government response to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Cebu province and city.

It took about two months before the city was downgraded to modified general community quarantine, the most relaxed form of community quarantine. —ADOR VINCENT MAYOL

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TAGS: Cebu, Cimatu, ECQ, EOC, lockdown, pandemic
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