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Mayor Labella: No to lockdown
These were the strong words of Mayor Edgardo Labella following the recommendation of consultants of the Department of Health (DOH) central office for stricter quarantine rules in Cebu following a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and the discovery of virus mutations.

Mayor Labella: No to lockdown

Mary Ruth R. Malinao (The Freeman) - February 24, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  “Dili ta mo-resort anang lockdown of the entire City of Cebu. No way.”

These were the strong words of Mayor Edgardo Labella following the recommendation of consultants of the Department of Health (DOH) central office for stricter quarantine rules in Cebu following a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and the discovery of virus mutations.

“In my conversation with the regional health officials, I'm referring particularly to Dr. (Mary Jean) Loreche, nga we will maintain as MGCQ,” Labella said during a virtual press conference Tuesday, February 23.

Loreche is the chief pathologist and spokesperson of DOH-7.

Cebu City has been under modified general community quarantine since September.

DOH-7 is set to present data to its central office on Friday to defend Cebu City’s MGCQ status.

Retired Major General Melquiades Feliciano, implementer for the Visayas of the national Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), said the critical care utilization or occupancy of hospitals will be most crucial. As of yesterday, the city’s critical care utilization rate is at 51.7 percent, which means 502 beds in hospitals allocated for COVID patients are occupied. At least 469 beds remain vacant.

“Di pa naman napapag-usapan yung stricker quarantine classification for the City of Cebu… Sa Friday, may briefing si Doc Jean Loreche sa kanila (DOH central office) para sa data ng Cebu City,” Feliciano said.

But Labella said the city will abide by the decision of IATF, in case it decides to raise the city’s quarantine classification, as long as it will not be a citywide lockdown.

“If IATF declares for a higher quarantine status, then we have to comply but we will never declare a lockdown for the entire city,” Labella said.

“We've experienced unsa kapait kung mag-lockdown, so there will be no more lockdown in the entire city. Because og mahitabo na, simbako lang, luoy kaayo ang atong mga katawhan, mosamot kalisod ang kinabuhi, so we will never allow. Dili ta mo-resort anang lockdown of the entire City of Cebu. No way,” Labella added.

Status

Of Cebu City’s 80 barangays, only the mountain barangay of Tabunan, remains COVID-free, based on data from the city’s Emergency Operations Center as of February 23.

For the last 10 days, however, seven barangays had no transmission.

Of the 1,049 residents tested on February 22, positivity rate is at 17.63 percent.

Based on data from DOH-7, Cebu City has 3,176 active cases after recording 184 new cases on February 22. At least 147 more patients recovered bringing to 12,565 the total number of recoveries.

Seven hundred twenty-five have died from the disease.

Feliciano said the city is yet to extract 220 new patients from their homes but their houses have already been put on lockdown.

Feliciano said he has already directed all isolation facilities to be inspected daily and to make sure they are clean and safe.

He said he has advised the EOC and barangays to discuss on a daily basis, considering that the situation is evolving.

“Dapat nag-e-evolve yan, eh… Kung anong magagandang process sa baba, sila ang makakaalam nyan,” Feliciano said.

PDLs

Among the newest patients in Cebu City are six inmates of the Pardo Police Station, said Wilbert Parilla, Deputy City Director for Operations of Cebu City Police Office (CCPO). They tested positive during mandatory testing prior to being transferred to the city jail.

Parilla said they have already suspended visitations at the station.

"Just like what we have done sa mga previous na mga police stations nga dunay nag positive, ato sang ihunong ang pagpasulod sa mga arrested person, then atong i-decontaminate ang tibuok station," Parilla said.

Parilla assured that services of the Pardo Police Station will continue as those who were identified to be in direct contact with the detainees have been isolated.

"Pero dili nato na i-lockdown; ang kato lang mga directly nga na contact sa mga arrested maoy atong i-isolate then atong ipa-swab ang tanang personnel sa Station 7," he said.

He said the detainees may have contracted the disease at their barangays before they were arrested.

"Posible sad mga diha na sad ni nagtakod sa sulod pero sa tan-aw sa atoang health officer, nag-positive na ni sila daan sa gawas pa kay dili man ni sila dugay na nga nadakpan nya dili man ni sila maabot ug one week sa sulod sa detention sa atong mga station," Parilla said.

Those who will be arrested by the station will be detained temporarily at the CCPO headquarters or at neighboring police stations.

As part of their precautionary measures to avoid getting infected further with the virus, the police have station health units. These are currently manned with registered nurses who were regularly monitoring the cops' health status.

Oplan Bulabog

Meanwhile, the city’s police’s Oplan Bulabog has resumed. Last Monday night, 60 were arrested for violating minimum health protocols, 11 of whom are minors.

Among the 60 violators, 42 violated the curfew, 15 did not wear a mask, one went out without a quarantine pass, and two violated the liquor ban.

"Atoa nang gi-resume og balik atong Oplan Bulabog operation considering nga naa napud tay mga personnel nga naka-assign didto sa temporary holding area didto sa Barangay Tejero," Parilla said.

The Oplan Bulabog was halted for several days since most of the police personnel were focused on preemptive efforts against typhoon Auring.

Parilla noted that the number of violators is lower this time compared to previous operations when the number of people arrested averaged 200 a day.

"Medyo ubos na gyud ni sya kayo kumpara kaniadto, no, kay before, mo-average man sya ug almost 200 atong ma-apprehend daily," Parilla said. — Caecent No-ot Magsumbol and Iris Hazel M. Mascardo, JMO (FREEMAN)

EDGARDO LABELLA
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