National gov’t steps in to evaluate Cebu City’s COVID response
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Malacañang has announced on Saturday, June 20, that the national government’s anti-coronavirus task force will be assessing how the city government of Cebu is handling the pandemic here.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said during the Palace’s press briefing that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) decided that national government agencies would step in to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation here.
“Nagpulong po ang mga myembro nang IATF kahapon (Friday, June 19)… inatasan nang National Task Force na i-evaluate ang ground-level response ng Cebu City simula Lunes para magkaroon nang mas magaling na calibrated response,” said Roque.
(The members of IATF gathered for a meeting yesterday, Friday… and they instructed the National Task Force to evaluate the ground-level response of Cebu City starting Monday in order to come up with a more calibrated response.)
In doing the evaluation, Roque said the IATF-MEID was planning the creation of a National Task Force Emergency Operation Center, and to designate a Visayas Deputy Implementer to oversee the situation not only in Cebu but also for the entire Visayas area.
The IATF-MEID also released its 47th resolution dated June 19, detailing the points raised during their most recent meeting that included additional proposals to solve the COVID-19 outbreak in Cebu City.
Aside from an emergency operation center and appointing a deputy implementer, the national government also recommended for the establishment of Out-Patient Services (OPS) in existing Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities (TTMFs).
“(This is) in response to the low utilization of such TTMFs and the increasing number of isolated individuals at home,” the resolution stated.
The country’s policy-making body on the COVID-19 pandemic is also planning to synchronize regional and national data among the Department of Health, Department of Interior and Local Government, and the NTF; and to improve the processing of Locally Stranded Individuals.
“Strict and uniform enforcement of minimum public health standards in high-risk areas such as health care settings, wet markets, supermarkets, government offices, and workplaces, among others, (are also ordered),” they added.
Cebu City is the lone area in the country that was placed back to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the strictest quarantine mode, last June 16.
Among the reasons enumerated included the continuing increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases, widespread community transmission, and the significant increase in critical care utilization against critical case capacities.
The entire island of Cebu has recorded 5,641 COVID-19 cases as of June 19, and 4, 239 of these are from Cebu City, the province’s capital, and tagged as the outbreak’s epicenter in Central Visayas.
The city’s recoveries and mortalities, on the other hand, stood at 2,066, and 64 respectively. /dbs
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