Weak contact tracing, psychological stigma among challenges faced by Cebu City — Galvez 

By: Krissy Aguilar - INQUIRER.net July 02,2020 - 04:39 PM
Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella tours Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. at the Cebu City Quarantine Center during Galvez's visit here in Cebu City. | Photo Courtesy of Cebu City PIO

Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella tours Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. at the Cebu City Quarantine Center during Galvez’s visit here in Cebu City. | Photo Courtesy of Cebu City PIO

MANILA, Philippines — While Cebu City is now “improving,” the chief implementer of the government’s COVID-19 efforts said several challenges were observed as to why the city became a COVID-19 hotspot.

“Nakikita po natin nag-i-improve ang Cebu because of the cooperation of the public and LGUs (We are seeing Cebu’s improvement because of the public and LGU’s cooperation),” said Secretary Carlito Galvez in an online Palace briefing.

Galvez, however, pointed to the “mistake” of allowing COVID-19 patients to undergo home quarantine and the city’s “weak” contact tracing as the reasons why it became a COVID-19 hotspot.

“Pagka meron tayong home quarantine, hindi po natin ma-control o totally ma-isolate yung mga COVID cases (If we are implementing home quarantine, we cannot control or totally isolate the COVID cases),” Galvez explained.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año earlier said the government is eyeing to put up more quarantine facilities in the city amid its rising COVID-19 cases.

“Ang naitala po medyo mahina po ang contact tracing at 30 percent. Meaning, yung mga infected ay talagang hindi po nakukuha (The contact tracing is a little weak at 30 percent. Meaning, those infected are not being monitored),” Galvez added.

Galvez also noted the “psychological stigma” being faced by contacts of COVID-19 cases. “Ibig sabihin, yung isang tao na may contact, hindi na po siya nagsasalita dahil malakas po ang discrimination (It means that a person who had a contact will not speak because there is discrimination).”

Further, Galvez said some areas in Cebu City are “densely populated” making physical distancing hard to observe.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier attributed Cebu City’s high COVID-19 cases to its residents who violated quarantine rules.

While this is a factor on the increasing infections, Galvez said they have observed Cebu City residents following the lockdown guidelines.

“Yung sinasabi po ni Presidente, parang cariño lang po yung sa mga bisaya. Nakita po natin sumusunod naman po sila,” Galvez said.

Cebu City is the lone area placed under enhanced community quarantine or the strictest form of lockdown until July 15.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the city has reportedly surpassed 6,000. This is out of the 38,511 confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide./EDV

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TAGS: contact tracing, COVID-19, Galvez, stigma
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