DOH-7 reiterates stand: No to lockdown, ECQ
CEBU CITY, Philippines—The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) reiterated its suggestions that placing entire Cebu island under stricter quarantine status is not appropriate in addressing the continuous rise of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“We don’t have to be in ECQ (enhanced community quarantine)… We are not recommending a stricter quarantine for us,” said Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson of DOH-7, in recent virtual briefer.
Loreche, once again, pointed out that the outbreak in Cebu, including those in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu, remained controllable.
This despite experiencing a slight increase in critical care utilization rates in both public and private hospitals, and the discovery of two mutations of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
“If we’re going to a lockdown as in lockdown the entire Central Visayas, or maybe Cebu City, which has the highest number (of cases), what would be the impact on the economy? [Can we still] survive?” said Loreche.
Last February 19, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, in a press conference, revealed she received information that consultants reporting to DOH’s Central Office recommended to the national government’s anti-coronavirus task force to put Cebu under lockdown or higher community quarantine status, which gained the governor’s ire.
DOH-7 eventually confirmed this but assured both the governor and the public that they will respond to these developments by pushing for the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) status in the entire island to stay.
“The virus, I believe is just all over town but the thing there is we, here in Central Visayas, really thought of having a logical and scientific way of looking at it. That’s why we conducted bio-surveillance. The bio-surveillance results should not be a reason for us to be under lockdown or to be in ECQ. Rather, it should be a guide for us on how we should be able to control this virus… so we would learn how to live with COVID,” Loreche added.
MGCQ is the most lenient quarantine status. Cebu was placed under this classification since September in 2020.
But recently, Central Visayas experienced an increase in its active COVID-19 cases, standing at 6,276 as of February 22, with new patients recorded from Cebu City and Cebu province as the main drivers.
DOH-7, for its part, reported that most of these patients, or accounting 87 percent of the figures, are asymptomatics. They also said infrastructure has been put in place to respond to the outbreak.
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