Cebu City Market Authority raises concerns on random testing for Carbon market vendors
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City Market Authority Office raised concerns on the proposed random testing on vendors of the Carbon Public Market by the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7).
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, the chief pathologist of the DOH-7, proposed mass testing among the vendors in Cebu’s largest public market following reports that the recent active cases have history of going to the said market.
New Market Authority Head Irvin Cabales, who took over the office a week ago, told CDN Digital in a phone interview that they have raised apprehensions over this random testing.
Cabales said that most market vendors do not live within the Carbon compound or in Barangay Ermita, where the market is located.
The alternate system for the vendors, where only 40 percent of the vendors can sell in a day, also proves a problem if the test will be conducted in only one day.
“Lahi-lahi ang mga manindahay kada adlaw kay gialternate nato sila. Amo pangutana unsaon nila pagtest if ingon ana? Unsaon nila pagrandomize sa testing?” said Cabales.
(There are different vendors selling every day because we implemented an alternate system. Our question is how will the test be implemented in this case? How will they randomize the testing?)
Cabales is also not convinced that the Carbon Market is the sole source for community transmission as various barangay-based markets and private supermarkets have been opened since the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).
He said the possibility would always be there since the Carbon Market is constantly visited by people, but it cannot be “100 percent sure” that the market is the source of the virus.
To reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19, the Market Authority implemented strict measures such as the name-coding scheme based on the first letter of the last name of the city residents.
Certain letters can enter only certain days, cutting the number of people entering the market by a third compared to how it was before the pandemic.
Handwashing and sanitation areas have been put up in various areas as well to ensure proper hygiene for both vendors and shoppers.
Every Sunday, the market is closed for disinfection to remove any possible residual virus.
Cabales said that if randomized testing should be done by the DOH, the system must be set so as not to sow fear among the vendors and shoppers.
He said that if positive cases should be identified, there should be an efficient plan on how to close the affected areas without necessarily closing the entire unit or the entire Carbon Market. /bmjo
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