19 areas in Cebu City tagged ‘critical and containment zones’; hospitals quickly filling up

Published June 19, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Martin Sadongdong

A total of 19 areas in Cebu City are considered “critical and containment zones” due to high number of infections.

Secretary Carlito Galvez (Manila Bulletin)
Secretary Carlito Galvez (Manila Bulletin)

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of National Task Force (NTF) COVID-19, said this Friday as he revealed that several adjustments are now being implemented by the national government in Central Visayas (Region 7) to deal with the sudden spike of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the city.

So far, Cebu City has the most number of COVID-19 cases nationwide, surpassing Quezon City in Metro Manila. This was one of the reasons President Duterte reverted its status to Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), from General Community Quarantine (GCQ), until June 30.

As of Thursday, the DOH said Cebu City has 3,216 cases while Quezon City has 2,800 cases.

Galvez said the number of critical and severe cases in Cebu City is also rising while the hospitals were quickly filling up.

As such, Galvez said additional health personnel were deployed by the regional office of the Department of Health (DOH-7) to cater to patients in Cebu City.

A monitoring team from the DOH central office has also been sent to Cebu City to observe the situation there.

Further, more hospital rooms in the city were converted into COVID-19 wards to accommodate the patients.

The NTF also sent 42,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) sets, 16,000 face masks, and 25 non-invasive ventilators to Cebu City to augment its dwindling medical supply and equipment.

Galvez said the adjustments were discussed and agreed upon by Secretary Michael Lloyd Diño, Presidential Adviser for the Visayas; Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, and all the mayors in Cebu province last week.

“We also advised LGUs (local government units) and security forces to strictly enforce quarantine protocols and movement restriction to imbibe the importance of social distancing, public health safety, and hygiene,” Galvez noted.

“I also encouraged the LGUs, doctors, health workers and stakeholders to come together, unite and pull our energies and resources to solve the health and economic issues in this locality. Huwag po tayong magkaroon ng blame game, wala pong mangyayari dyan. Dapat magsama-sama po tayo (Let us refrain from this blame game, it will do us no good. We should be united),” he emphasized.

Travel between Cebu City and Talisay City banned

As this developed, the travel of locally stranded individuals (LSIs) between Cebu City and Talisay City will be temporarily banned amid the rising cases of COVID-19 in the two cities.

Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, commander of the JTF COVID Shield, said the move is to give local officials of the two cities enough time to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Cebu City was reverted to ECQ while Talisay City is under modified ECQ, both until June 30.

“As per instruction of SILG (Secretary of the Interior and Local Government) Eduardo Año, the movement of LSIs coming from or going to ECQ and MECQ areas will not be allowed temporarily,” said Eleazar.

He said they have already coordinated with Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Archie Francisco Gamboa on the implementation of security measures for Cebu City and Talisay City and the issuance of Travel Authority for the two cities.

The coordination, he said, is aimed at informing all police commanders around the country to temporarily suspend the issuance of Travel Authority for LSIs going to Cebu City and Talisay City.

At the same time, he said Regional Director of Police Regional Office 7, Director of the Cebu City Police Office, and his Station Commanders, Provincial Director of Cebu Police Provincial Office, and Chief of Police of Talisay City Police Station will be advised to withhold the issuance of Travel Authority for LSIs inside their areas of responsibility.

Earlier, at least 100 policemen from Western Visayas and Eastern Visayas regional police offices were deployed to Cebu City to assist in the implementation of the ECQ.

In Talisay City, Eleazar said additional police forces will be deployed from the Cebu Provincial Police Office. (With a report from Aaron B. Recuenco)