Labella optimistic Cebu City can achieve ‘COVID-free’ status

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | October 23,2020 - 04:42 PM
Labella optimistic Cebu City can achieve ‘COVID-free’ status

The skycrapers of Cebu City from Mactan Channel. (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella is optimistic that the city can achieve a coronavirus-free status, a challenge dangled by the Visayas’ top official of the anti-coronavirus task force.

“I am optimistic (we can achieve zero active COVID-19 cases)… It’s a tall order but it’s a possibility,” Labella told reporters in a press conference on Friday, October 23.

It can be recalled that Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, who is also the chief implementor of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) in the Visayas,  challenged local officials here to bring the city’s number of active cases to zero.

In response and as part of fulfilling the challenge, Labella dangled P100,000 as a cash reward to barangays that can attain and sustain zero active cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) starting November 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.

RELATED STORY: Cebu City dangles P100k worth of incentives to barangays that can achieve COVID-free status

“The fact nga muubos na gyud ug maayo (that our cases are decreasing), that is something that is encouraging,” Labella added.

If all 80 barangays in Cebu City can achieve a COVID-free status by the end of the year, the city is expected to shell out P8 million from its coffers.

Labella said they would be sourcing the funds for the cash incentives from the supplemental budget worth P100 million granted to them by the city council.

“We still have portions of the P100 million of our supplemental budget that remained unspent. That’s where we will get our funds for the reward,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

As of October 22, data from the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) showed that 43 out of the 80 barangays in the city had recorded zero active COVID-19 cases for the past 14 days.

The same report also showed that the city had been monitoring 195 active cases, which referred to patients still infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Cimatu recently visited Cebu City last October 22, 2020, and lauded the Cebuanos for sustaining the gains they had made in bringing the outbreak down to manageable levels.

READ MORE: Cimatu to Cebu City: Aim for zero in COVID-19 cases

Cebu City was the only lone area in the country that was reverted to the strictest form of community quarantine -enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) – last June due to rapid transmission of the virus.

As a result, the national government intervened with President Rodrigo Duterte appointing Cimatu to oversee all responses made by the local government.

RELATED STORY: Duterte to send Cimatu to Cebu to monitor COVID-19 situation

The city was only downgraded to general community quarantine (GCQ) last August, and further eased restrictions when it was permitted to transition to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) last September. /dbs

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TAGS: cash reward COVID-19-free, Cebu City, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, COVID-19 update in Cebu City, COVID-free Cebu City, COVID-free status, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu, IATF - MEID, Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease, Labella optimistic Cebu City can achieve ‘COVID-free’ status
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