Not wanting to go back to ECQ, Cebu City to reimpose restrictions for 1 month
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Residents in Cebu City are told to brace themselves as local officials will be reintroducing restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Acting City Mayor Michael Rama announced that the city government is set to issue another Executive Order (EO) which will reinstate several stricter health protocols for one month.
“I’m just waiting to sign the EO. As soon as I sign the EO, for one month, we will do (these restrictions)… If and when things will improve after one month, we can go back but still, the prevention will never be stopped,” Rama told reporters in a briefer on Monday, July 26.
The acting city mayor said these measures were put in place to avoid chances of Cebu City being reclassified into the strictest form of quarantine status amid the continuous rise of COVID-19 infections.
“If we do not do our act now, it’s a matter of agreeing. Do we want to be in ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine) or do we wish to maintain the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ)? Let’s bear the brunt for one whole month,” Rama explained.
Officials in Cebu City, including those from the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), members of the private sector, and other stakeholders held a ‘multi-sectoral’ meeting last Sunday, July 25, to discuss the increase of new COVID-19 cases here.
Among the restrictions they will implement again included the liquor ban and earlier curfew hours that will start at 10 p.m. instead of 11 p.m.
“The prohibition of liquor, however, we will allow the selling and buying of liquor for as long as the consumption is at home. What we will prohibit is drinking in public places,” Rama added.
Experts from the EOC pointed to unregulated social gatherings in ‘entertainment bars and lifestyle districts’ as one of the primary sources of new infections, said Rama.
“In lifestyle and entertainment, in the meantime, what we would like to address. Naidentified man na gahapon gud na. Even transportation… and with the presence of Chamber of Commerce (Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry), it’s a united a stand and there was no objection that these courses of actions have to be pursued immediately,” he explained.
The city, on the other hand, assured that the vaccination rollout will continue despite this development.
Lately, the city has been experiencing a spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases.
The COVID-19 bulletin from the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) showed that as of July 25, Cebu City’s active cases of the infection have jumped to a total of 2,085. Health officials recorded 196 additional patients on the same day.
Meanwhile, DOH-7 registered 121 new recoveries in Cebu City on July 25, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 25, 663.
The city’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has reached 28, 620.
Based on available data from the EOC, its critical care utilization rate is at 55.1 percent as of July 24.
Hospital utilization rates are used to gauge the gravity of the outbreak in an area. Occupancy rates below 60 percent are considered ‘safe levels’ but if these go beyond 80 percent, it usually indicates that the healthcare system is starting to get overwhelmed.
Cebu City has been under MGCQ, the most lenient form of community quarantine, for almost a year.
But before it shifted into such status, the city reverted to ECQ after its healthcare system buckled as COVID-19 patients swarmed in hospitals between June and July in 2020.
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