Cebu City remains under ECQ because hospitals are already overwhelmed – Duque

MANILA, Philippines — Cebu City remains under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the highest quarantine restriction level placed by the national government, as hospitals are already overwhelmed.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said this during President Rodrigo Duterte’s briefing early Wednesday morning, noting that the quick case doubling time — or the amount of time needed for an area’s number of cases to double — is too short, at less than seven days.

“That puts them [Cebu City residents] at high risk, and their critical care utilization rate is high. It means their health systems capacity is already overwhelmed,” Duque told Duterte, speaking partly in Filipino.

A high critical care utilization rate, Duque explained, means that many COVID-19 patients are already using hospital beds and mechanical ventilators.

Cebu City is the only area in the country that is under an ECQ, with quarantine regulations in other parts like Metro Manila having been eased down.

Previously, Duterte assigned Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to spearhead the national government’s response to the pandemic in the said city.

The President also blamed Cebuanos for being overconfident, as some people were seen roaming around outside while other areas were having a hard time fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, Duterte again insisted that Cebu residents were nonchalant towards the health crisis, despite the strict implementation of quarantine rules by the police.

Earlier, Cimatu said that he was confident that Cebu would be downgraded to a general community quarantine by July 16.

As of Tuesday, the Philippines registered 47,873 confirmed COVID-19 cases, the second-highest infection rates in Southeast Asia.  Of this number, 1,309 patients have died while 12,386 have recovered. /atm