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Cebu hospitals support 24-hour curfew for seniors, minors

By: Irene R. Sino Cruz - CDN Digital | March 23,2020 - 02:36 PM


CEBU CITY, Philippines—Cebu hospitals and doctors are supporting the imposition of a 24-hour curfew for senior citizens and minors, which aims to impede transmission of the deadly Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19).

On Saturday, March 21, 2020, Secretary Michael Dino, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, issued an advisory encouraging local government units (LGUs) to implement a 24-hour curfew for seniors and minors, who are the most at-risk age group in this pandemic.

Following the advisory issued by Secretary Dino, more local government units (LGUs) adopted the policy by issuing their own executive orders to protect their constituents.

Based on the monitoring the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV), the local executives that adopted the said advisory are Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia (Executive order 5K); Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella (EO 059); Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Ahong Chan (announcement); Bohol Governor Atty. Arthur Yap (EO 16); Larena, Siquijor Mayor Dean Villa (EO 17); Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo (EO 13); Baybay City, Leyte Mayor Jose Carlos Cari (EO 55); and Pambujan, Northern Samar Felipe Sosing (EO 31).

Read: Capitol to Cebu LGUs: Cancel big events, implement curfew, social distancing

In a news release, the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) quoted top officials of hospitals and doctors in Cebu as expressing support for the 24-hour curfew.

“We support the measure to keep seniors inside as they are the most at-risk age group. Hospital containment floors are rapidly filling up,” said Candice Gotianuy, president of University of Cebu Medical Center (UCMed). 

“We hope that this doesn’t happen but in the event that there is a surge and there are not enough ventilators, the doctors will have to make the difficult decision on whose life to save. That ventilator will likely go to a younger person- and not to our parents or grandparents,” Gotianuy added.

Meanwhile, Dr. Pureza Oñate, the medical director of Perpetual Succor Hospital, noted that even the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in United States proved that “people who are at higher risk for severe disease and death from the COVID 19 virus are those who are older and with underlying health conditions.”

Oñate described Secretary Dino’s mandate as very compassionate to the elderly, “It is indeed a very compassionate mandate for Sec. Dino to call for seniors to stay home.”

Dr. Joanne Cosin, chief operating officer of Chong Hua Hospital, described the move of Secretary Dino as prudent and timely.

“They face a potentially life-threatening risk if infected with the novel coronavirus, which has caused deaths of 60-plus-year-olds stretching across the cities of China to the metropolises of Italy and now the United States. Thus, CHH totally supports this timely,  prudent and compassionate move by Sec. Dino,” Cosin said.

Dr. Ma. Lourdes Chan of the Cebu Velez General Hospital was also quoted as saying, “CVGH supports this important advisory of Sec. Dino for the call to those who are 65-years and older to stay at home as they are the ones at highest risk of acquiring the severe form of the COVID infection with a high fatality rate.  We hope that this move will help flatten the curve of the rising number of infected cases and deaths.”.

For his part, Dr. Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III, Cebu Doctors’ Group of Hospitals president and chairman, also asked the public to let the frontliners flatten the curve while they stay in their homes.

“We appreciate every move of our government officials to a more heightened security and preventive measures just to flatten the curve. We, healthcare workers, cannot fight this pandemic alone, we need everybody’s cooperation. Our battle cry is one, we stayed at work for you, please stay at home for us,” said Dr. Larrazabal.

Under the Section 2 of the Memorandum No. 8 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte, Secretary Dino stated that “all department, bureaus, offices, agencies, or instrumentalities of the government, including government-owned or controlled corporations (GOCC) and government financial institutions (GFI), are hereby directed to render full assistance and cooperation to the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas as may be required to carry out his functions pursuant to the order. LGUs are also encouraged to give assistance to the Presidential Assistant as the circumstances may require.

As of noon of March 23, 2020, a total of 396 individuals were tested positive in the country while 33 died, according to the latest report from the Department of Health. Out of the confirmed cases more than a hundred were within the 61-90 age group, according to the OPAV. /bmjo

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TAGS: OPAV, Secretary Michael Dino

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