Outbreak containment: Cebu, Mandaue cities still on ECQ

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CEBU CITY – The cities of Cebu and Mandaue will cotiue to enforce strict measures in battling the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) following the resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) placing them under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

The IATF-EID issued Resolution No. 37 on Friday placing the two highly-urbanized cities (HUCs) in Metro Cebu under ECQ until May 31 due to the rising number of Covid-19 infections.

The resolution also placed all HUCs in the National Capital Region, as well as Pateros town, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Zambales, Angeles City, and Laguna under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

Mayor Edgardo Labella on Saturday issued executive order 78 revoking earlier signed EO 77 supposedly placing this city under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

Labella said the new EO reverted back the city to ECQ after the IATF-EID decided to extend the enhanced level of quarantine measures as the two contiguous cities are considered by health authorities as high-risk due to the rising number of Covid-19 infections.

“Seeing the rise in the number of Covid-19 positive cases in Cebu City due to the city government’s conduct of mass testing and strategized community testing, there’s a need to reimpose a state of enhanced community quarantine to ensure that there is no further transmission of the virus while those found positive (would) undergo quarantine and treatment,” Labella said.

Labella’s EO 78 strictly enforces mandatory stay-at-home order to all residents of the city.

However, medical personnel and hospital staff, emergency personnel, authorized national and local government officials are exempted from the stay-at-home policy.

Mayor Jonas Cortes of Mandaue did not issue another EO placing back the industrial city to ECQ following the IATF-EID resolution.

Instead, the Mandaue City Public Information Office announced Saturday on its social media page that “all executive orders pertaining to the ECQ in Mandaue City shall remain in full force and effect.”

“The city government will continue providing relief packs to every household through the barangays. Households/sitios under lockdown will still receive stay at home kits,” the announcement said.

Cortes, in a radio interview, confirmed the reimplementation of ECQ measures after he learned about the IATF-EID Resolution 37.

Mayors Labella, Cortes, and Junard Chan in a joint statement had appealed before the IATF-EID to allow them to continue enforcing strict quarantine measures under ECQ due to the ongoing strategic barangay-level mass testing using rapid diagnostic test (RDT) to “get a clear picture of Covid-19” in the three cities.

So far, the strategic test in the three cities is now 64.32-percent complete with 39,645 targets which represent 10 percent of the total households.

Mandaue is at 99.39 percent accomplishment after testing 11,561 of the 11,632 target individuals, Lapu-Lapu at 73.80 percent for accomplishing 7,732 of 10,477 target patients, and this capital city at 35.38 percent of the 17,536 target or 6,205 total tested individuals as of Saturday.

The Cebu City Health Department (CCHD) reported a total of 1,723 Covid-19 cases while the Mandaue City Health Office reported 112 confirmed cases. Lapu-Lapu has 49 cases.

Meanwhile, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia announced the Cebu province shift from ECQ to general community quarantine (GCQ) on May 20.

Starting on Wednesday, mini-buses and buses will be allowed to travel in Cebu towns and cities subject to Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) regulations and rules on strict physical distancing.

Tricycles will start serving town residents with only one passenger allowed to ride for every unit.

Essential businesses and establishments in the province will be allowed to open. But gyms, fitness, sports, and recreation centers, bars and pubs, karaoke establishments, movie houses, swimming pools, cockpits, and other leisure establishments will not be allowed to operate.

Cebu province has an aggregate of 55 individuals tested positive of coronavirus. (PNA)