What to expect when Cebu City locks down on Saturday noon
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Sirens and church bells will ring in Cebu City once the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) begins at 12 noon on Saturday, March 28, 2020.
Mayor Edgardo Labella said that shipping lines have agreed to blow the horns to signal the start of the lockdown. It will mark the first of the 30 days that Cebu City will close its borders and limit mobility in the city.
All residents are asked to stay home except for essential workforces such as medical personnel, government employees, media, drivers of buses and delivery trucks, market vendors, police and other law enforcement, and employees of exempted establishments like grocery stores, banks, pharmacies, and fast-food restaurants.
For every household, an ECQ pass will be provided so a single member can leave the house between 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. to buy necessities.
There will be no public transportation, so only free buses commissioned by the city government will carry passengers to and from places.
Checkpoints will be stricter as police and the army will require quarantine passes and identification cards before letting anyone in or out the city.
Patrols will also be frequent in major and secondary streets as people are required to stay indoors while the enhanced community quarantine is being implemented.
“This is necessary to contain the virus,” said Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia.
Despite the implementation of the ECQ on Saturday noon, both North and South bus terminals will remain functional in order to allow provincial residents to go home before the province-wide lockdown on Monday midnight.
With at least 12 presumptive cases, the city is taking stricter measures against the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019.
City Health Officer Daisy Villa told CDN Digital that the ECQ will help contain the virus especially if those with influenza-like-symptoms would remain at home.
Even so, Villa said if they have ILI, they should go to their cluster clinics so they can be identified and recorded. If symptoms match that of COVID-19, they may be immediately tested at the hospital.
“The ECQ is not a reason not to get checked,” said Villa in a phone interview.
Currently, there are 77 ILIs in Cebu City who are being monitored. They are also the priority for testing for the virus.
Villa said with the ECQ, it will now be easier to quarantine clusters or areas were suspected cases or even positive cases are identified.
According to the Department of Health, there are already 12 positive cases in the entire Central Visayas. /rcg
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