Cebu, Iloilo cities battle spike in COVID cases | Inquirer News

Cebu, Iloilo cities battle spike in COVID cases

FAITH AND PANDEMIC Devotees observe physical distancing as they light candles and pray at Basilica del Sto. Niño’s open-air Pilgrim Center in preparation for the feast of the Child Jesus on Jan. 16. For the second consecutive year, Masses in honor of Sto. Niño de Cebu are held online to prevent the spread of COVID-19. —NESTLE SEMILLA

CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — The cities of Cebu and Iloilo have recorded a sharp increase in their daily COVID-19 cases starting this month as the country confronts another wave of infection surge.

From only eight cases on Jan. 2, the number of active infections in Cebu City ballooned to 564 on Jan. 11, according to the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Of this number, 67.91 percent were asymptomatic while the rest had mild symptoms of the virus, such as cough, colds and body pain.


With the quick rise in cases, the EOC allowed home isolation for those who tested positive for the virus but were asymptomatic or suffering mild symptoms.

Councilor Joel Garganera, EOC deputy chief implementer, assured residents that there was no cause for alarm especially that the hospital occupancy in the city remained low despite the spike in infections.


“Before, we had 400 cases a day, so cases [at present] are very normal to EOC. We can weather this as long as we are united in following the protocols. Let’s not be complacent though,” he said.

Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson for the Visayas COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Center, said it was premature to conclude that the hospital utilization rates would remain low amid the increasing cases of COVID-19.

Free testing

“We are just at the beginning of the rising cases so vigilance is the name of the game. We pray that Cebu remains under alert level 2 and that our processes and containment measures can counter this surge,” she said.In Iloilo City, COVID-19 cases from Jan. 1 to Jan. 9 reached 216, way higher than the 18 recorded from Dec. 1, 2021 to Dec. 9, 2021. The average daily cases for the period increased from two to 24 last month.

To address the problem, Iloilo City ramped up its testing by providing free reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests for those who were exhibiting symptoms and exposed to infected persons.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said the cost of the RT-PCR test administered by the molecular laboratory of the city government had been reduced to P800 for those who were nonsymptomatic but would want to be tested.

While Western Visayas region has been categorized as “moderate risk” in COVID-19 transmission, Iloilo City and Aklan, as of Jan. 9, have been classified “high risk.”

The Department of Health reported 304 new cases in the region on Jan. 9 with 2,567 active cases.The average number of daily cases in the region also increased from 26 in December to 122 this month.


Five provinces in Western Visayas, including Bacolod City in Negros Occidental, have heightened border and travel restrictions due to rising infections in the country.

Entry requirements

A negative RT-PCR test result released within 72 hours before a trip has been required when entering Antique and Capiz provinces as well as Bacolod City.Travelers entering Guimaras would be required to show their vaccination cards as proof of vaccination.

Unvaccinated travelers would be required to submit negative RT-PCR test results released within 72 hours before entering the island.

Except for medical purposes or emergencies, only fully vaccinated people are allowed to enter the province and only fully vaccinated residents can leave the island.Fully vaccinated guests will be allowed in hotels and inns with the number of guests limited to 50 percent of the establishments’ capacity.

Aside from a negative RT-PCR test, those who enter Capiz are asked to observe home quarantine for seven days. INQ

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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