Labella willing to tighten Cebu City’s borders if more barangays get infected
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella said he is willing to tighten the borders of Cebu City should more barangays (villages) become infected with the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The mayor said in a phone interview that a total lockdown would be very difficult for Cebu City since it is the center of the province and the region.
Medical facilities, laboratories, and trade hubs are found in Cebu City, and cutting off the rest of the province will not help in the fight against COVID-19.
Yet, the mayor said the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), which he described as essentially a “lockdown,” can be tightened to lessen exemptions.
“The ECQ is essentially a lockdown, only with exemptions. We can reduce those exemptions,” said the mayor.
Based on the data from the Cebu City Health Department, the number of cases in the city has reached 1,417 or at least 0.14 percent of the population of the city estimated at 1 million individuals.
Out of the 80 barangays, 32 has recorded positive cases. This means that at least 40 percent of the barangays have already been infected.
The bulk of the cases are found in the urban barangays concentrated in Barangays Mambaling, Labangon, Luz, and Suba.
These barangays are densely populated or contain the major trading hubs flocked by people on a daily basis.
For the mayor, a total lockdown of the city is an option that the city government cannot lightly take because of its economic repercussions.
Barangays under total lockdown like Labangon and Luz are draining their coffers to provide the needs of the residents.
Recently, Mambaling said they are running out of funds to feed the 22,000 residents of locked down Alaska. A lockdown means the government would have to provide the food supply of the residents.
Mayor Labella reiterates the importance of mass testing and contact tracing for the infected areas. The city needs to know the actual number of positive COVID-19 patients.
This is also the reason why he urges the public to submit themselves to the rapid tests so the city will have the scientific data to decide on its next move against this pandemic.
The mayor hopes for the cooperation of the residents in order for the ECQ to be lifted soon. /bmjo
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