MANDAUE CITY, Philippines — The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in a matter of months this year.
In Cebu island – Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City and Cebu province – like most parts of the world, face masks and now face shields have become a must for Cebuanos going outside their homes.
Community quarantines were implemented restricting most Cebuanos inside their homes and for certain areas especially in Cebu City, which became the epicenter of COVID-19 in the country in June 2020, lockdowns in certain areas were enforced.
In Cebu island, those suspected to have the virus or came from an area where there was a case of infection, would have to go into a 14-day quarantine period and undergo a swab test, quarantine passes were required for those going outside at the height of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period. Most public transportation were banned from plying their routes during those times.
Social distancing was required and public transport allowed to ply their routes need to only fill half of their vehicles’ capacity to observe social distancing. That is aside from the requirement for both drivers and passengers to wear face masks and face shields.
Most businesses during the ECQ were closed while others adopted the work from home rule for their workers.
The churches eventually were closed to the public and the Masses were celebrated online.
Start of this year’s classes were suspended and set later in October but with students going online or answering learning modules for their classes. Face-to-face classes were not allowed.
At the start, there were several violators of the health and quarantine rules, but eventually, the arrests and the warnings of the authorities set in in the Cebuanos’ minds with the violators becoming fewer in number.
As the year comes to a close, there is hope with vaccines for the virus as manufacturers rush its production to make these available to the world. For Filipinos, especially Cebuanos, the vaccines are likely to be available next year.
Here are some images of Cebu island in the first half of the year and amid the pandemic this 2020.
CEBU CITY GOES INTO ECQ. On March 28, Cebu City implemented the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) which is the highest community quarantine status where travel of public transport and most vehicles is restricted. An empty street in one of the borders of Cebu City on March 28, signals the start of the ECQ. | Gerard Vincent Francisco
CAN YOU HEAR ME. Cebu City Edgardo Labella brings a megaphone to address the motorists coming from southern Cebu during the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in Cebu City on March 28, 2020. | Gerard Francisco
PREPARING FOR THE WORSE. A long queue of people are seen outside a grocery store in Cebu City on March 26 as they rush to buy supplies after Cebu province, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue Cities have announced placing their respective areas under a state of enhanced community quarantine to be implemented a few days later. | CDN Digital photo by Gerard Francisco
TEMPERATURE CHECK. Authorities at a checkpoint in Cebu City use a thermal scanner to check the temperature of motorcycle riders passing there. On March 15, the Cebu City government also started implementing measures against COVID-19 such as this temperature check on motorists at a checkpoint in the city. Two weeks later on March 28, Cebu City was placed under the strictest community quarantine statuses — the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). | CDN Digital Photo by Alven Marie A. Timtim and Morexette Marie B. Erram
GOV CHECKS CEBU PROVINCE BORDERS. On March 30, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia inspects the checkpoint at the border of the cities of Mandaue and Cebu City along A.S. Fortuna Street as Cebu province also implements enhanced community quarantine on that day. | CDN Digital photo by Rosalie Abatayo
NEAR EMPTY STREET A WEEK INTO ECQ IN CEBU CITY. This is what the once busy area of uptown Cebu City — the corner of Gorordo Avenue and Escario Street — looked like on April 4, 2020 or a week after the enhanced community quarantine was implemented on March 28. |Alven Marie A. Timtim
PLEA FOR CEBUANOS TO STAY HOME. Representatives from the Cebu City Health Department wearing protective gear on April 10 sends a message to Cebuanos to stay at home to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The photo was taken at the Influenza-Like-Illness (ILI) Cluster Clinic inside the Cebu City Sports Institute in Barangay San Nicolas. | Photo Courtesy of Dr. Suyenne Garde
CLUSTER CLINIC. This is an April 10 photo of the cluster clinic at the Cebu City Sports Center which is Barangay San Nicolas Health Cluster Clinic. | Gerard Francisco
WELCOMING A RECOVERED COVID PATIENT BACK HOME. A community in Barangay Babag in Lapu-Lapu City welcomes their neighbor, a 70-year-old man, who recovered from COVID-19 as he returns home on April 11. | Photo courtesy of LLC DRRMO Chief Nagiel Bañacia
SITIO ZAPATERA, BARRIO LUZ UNDER LOCKDOWN. Police Colonel Josefino Ligan, chief of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), together with Police Major Juanito Alaras of the Mabolo Police station, prepares to conduct a foot patrol inside Sitio Zapatera as Barrio Luz was placed under a lockdown on April 12 following the discovery of three positive cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the area.| Photo courtesy of CCPO
MONITORING SITIO ZAPATERA, BARANGAY LUZ RESIDENTS. A policeman mans a checkpoint of Sitio Zapatera, Barangay Luz after the sitio was placed under lockdown starting April 12 when 3 COVID-19 cases were reported there. | Photo courtesy of Councilor Dave Tumulak
READY FOR DEPLOYMENT. Policemen are given a final briefing at the Cebu City Sports Complex during their sendoff on April 17 for COVID-19 duties in Cebu where they are tasked to strictly implement enhanced community quarantine protocols. | Contributed photo
DISINFECTION. A Cebu City team disinfects on April 17 Sitio Santo Niño in Barangay Labangon, which is one of the COVID-19 hotspots in the city. Barangay Labangon Captain Victor Buendia on April 22 placed the entire barangay under lockdown after three sitios including Sto. Niño recorded cases of the virus. | Photo courtesy of Barangay Labangon
EMERGENCY MEETING AT THE CAPITOL. The Capitol on April 17 has called for an emergency meeting with all mayors in Cebu island to discuss border controls as the number of COVID-19 cases here continues to rise. | CDN Digital photo by Morexette Erram
DANCING AWAY THE COVID-19 FEAR. Despite their situation being asymptomatic COVID-19 patients quarantined at the Barrio Luz Elementary School, which has been converted into an isolation center, these senior citizens dance at the school lobby and had fun showing their dance moves on April 24. This was taken shortly after a Zumba session was conducted in the center. | Contributed photo by Roy Comeros
STORMTROOPERS MAN A CONSOLACION CHECKPOINT. A “stormtrooper” helps man a checkpoint area in Consolacion town in northern Cebu on April 25. He is one of the members of the 501st Cebu Scarif Garrison, which is a unit of the 501st Legion of Stormtroopers, an international charity-based costuming group of “Star Wars” enthusiasts. The 501st Cebu Scarif Garrison was deputized by the Philippine National Police of Consolacion to help police in manning the checkpoints in the town.| Photo courtesy of Star Wars Cebu
FETCHING COVID-19 PATIENTS. Lapu-Lapu City’s crisis manager Nagiel Bañacia and his team on April 29 fetch two new COVID-19 positive patients from Sitio So-ong in Mactan and Sitio Langub in BarangayPoblacion to be transported to the hospitals in the city. | Contributed photo by Norman Mendoza
RECOVERED COVID-19 PATIENTS. Some of the newly recovered COVID-19 patients of Lapu-Lapu City are welcomed by Lapu-Lapu City’s Disaster Risk Reduction personnel as they prepare to leave the ARC Hospital on May 8 and return to their homes. | Photo courtesy of Nagiel Bañacia.
MANDAUE QUARANTINE FACILITY. Emergency Responders in Mandaue City on May 22 are ready to transport COVID-19 patients in the city to the isolation facility at the Mandaue City Central School. The school has been converted into a quarantine facility by the city government which is a way to create a quarantine facility with existing structures to save the city money and resources. | Photo courtesy of Mandaue City PIO
NEGATIVE ROOM PRESSURE SYSTEM FOR MANDAUE FACILITY. The Mandaue Quarantine Facility at the Mandaue City Central School, as shown in this May 5 photo, has been designed with a negative room pressure system. The system is an isolation technique that is used in hospitals and medical centers to prevent room-to-room contamination. | Photo courtesy of Mandaue PIO
PUNTA PRINCESA MASS TESTING. A resident participates in the rapid mass testing being conducted at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Gym in Barangay Punta Princesa on Friday, May 8. The tricities – Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu – conducted rapid mass tests in their respective areas to trace asymptomatic persons and prevent them from being super-spreaders. The mass tests were done in May 2020 and the project was in partnership with the Office of the Presidential Assistant of the Visayas. | Cebu City PIO
PHYSICAL EXERCISES FOR VIOLATORS. Enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) violators in Cebu City are made to squat and do other physical exercises at the Plaza Independencia in this May 17 photo. The Commission on Human Rights in Central Visayas (CHR-7) said that law enforcers had no authority to impose penalties like praying the rosary, doing physical activities to violators especially since these penalties were not stipulated in existing ordinances or laws. But Cebu City Legal Officer Rey Gealon said that making violators do physical exercises would be good for the violators because it would boost their immune system, which could help in the fight against COVID-19, | CDN Digital Photo by Gerard Francisco
SITIO MAGAY, TANGKE, TALISAY LOCKDOWN, DISINFECTION. A team of health workers disinfect Sitio Magay, Barangay Tangke in Talisay City as Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas placed the sitio on lockdown on May 23 after 11 cases were recorded in the area.| Photo Courtesy of Talisay City PIO
LOCKDOWN LIFTED, LOCKDOWN AGAIN, LOCKDOWN LIFTED AGAIN. Residents of Sitio Zapatera in Barrio Luz, Cebu City welcome home relatives and other residents, who have recovered from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in this May 20 photo. For residents of the sitio of 9,000 people, the implementation of the lockdown was a source of confusion. On May 2o, Mayor Edgardo Labella lifted the lockdown of the sitio as 51 of the 70 recovered COVID-19 patients had already been released from the isolation center. But a day later, the lockdown was returned after a surge of cases hit the sitio. On June 4, Labella again announced the lifting of the lockdown, saying that there were more recoveries from the virus and that the situation was now under control and manageable. But the police continued to strictly enforce lockdown rules in the sitio, saying that only the Inter-Agency Task Force in Central Visayas (IATF-CV) could declare a lifting of a lockdown in a certain area. The confusion, however, was cleared days later when requirements were completed and the lockdown in the sitio was finally lifted.| Photo Courtesy of Mayor Edgardo Labella
(To be continued)