Cimatu confident Cebu City will be downgraded to GCQ on July 16
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, the Interagency Task Force (IATF) overseer in Cebu, said he is confident that the city will be downgraded to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) by July 16, 2020.
“I am very optimistic that the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) will be downgraded to General Community Quarantine by July 16. We just have to cooperate para hindi na magdagdagan ang rate of infection dito sa Cebu City,” he said.
Cebu City was first placed under ECQ from March 28 to April 28 and was extended until May 31. It was downgraded to GCQ from June 1 to June 15 before it was placed back to ECQ on June 15 due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
Cimatu, who was ordered by president Rodrigo Duterte to oversee and evaluate Cebu City’s response towards the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), said the city has significantly improved in the compliance of ECQ guidelines of staying at home, wearing masks, and observing physical distancing.
Cimatu noted that when he came to Cebu City, he noticed a compliance rate of only 50 percent. Now, he says the compliance improved to at least 80 to 90 percent.
If the city will be downgraded to a GCQ, Cimatu said there will still be measures to ensure that the movement of people will be limited.
Responsibility of the barangays
The hotspot areas, such as the top 20 barangays (villages) with the highest number of cases, will be placed under granular lockdowns, or the locking down of infected sitios (sub villages).
“In the top 20, andyan ang mga pockets of infection sa mga sitios. Yun lang ang ilockdown natin. This will be managed by the local government units. We are giving the responsibility to the barangays, but they will be assisted by the police,” said Cimatu.
The village chiefs will be the ones to order or lift a lockdown in concurrence with the city mayor, Edgardo Labella.
To facilitate this possible change of scenario in Cebu City, Cimatu said the IATF will remain in Cebu City to monitor and guide the city to a GCQ transition.
The City Council has also been tasked to pass ordinances that would put in legislation the proper protocol for the barangays in handling lockdowns in consonance to IATF regulations.
Cimatu hopes the city’s situation will improve as intensified testing and contact tracing will be conducted in the next few days. /bmjo
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