No matter the Q, the V is always here
PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas (The Freeman) - August 6, 2020 - 12:00am

Cebu City is now on general community quarantine or GCQ.

Considered less strict than enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), GCQ is very important to call out to all to remain vigilant and to stay safe because the V (virus) is still here.

While certain restrictions may be relaxed, strict guidelines are still mandatory.

Cebu province guidelines clarify who are not allowed to go out: pregnant women, individuals under 21 and above 60 years of age with health conditions.

Movement or travel for leisure purposes and going to (some) tourist spots, including beach, are still not allowed. Drinking in public and personal care like massage, facial, sauna are also still disallowed.

To travel, quarantine pass is needed for non-workers, wearing of face masks is mandatory, number coding for vehicles and border control and checkpoints are still required in Cebu province.

In Cebu City, there were initial confusion and repeated queries about clear guidelines when the city reverted to GCQ.

This is an important lesson for governments. Regardless of Q, the guidelines have to be repeated again and again and again for smooth implementation, public understanding, and compliance with the quarantine type decided on.

It will also be very helpful if the guidelines are disseminated early enough, widely, and repeatedly to avoid confusion and non-compliance.

After some initial delay, the following GCQ guidelines were disseminated for Cebu City: 1) mandatory stay-at-home order still in effect; 2) residents must bring quarantine pass when going out for essentials; 3) malls may open with limited capacity; 4) religious gatherings were limited to not more than 10 persons.

Guidelines #5-8 indicated the permitted fitness activities (golf, equestrian, range shooting and skateboarding.

There were guidelines about mandatory stay-at-home order. Residents were reminded to go out only to access basic goods, services and to bring quarantine pass when going out for essential needs. Also, the pregnant and those below 21 or 60 years and those suffering from illness (diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, respiratory illnesses like asthma) and above had to comply with mandatory stay-at-home order, unless absolutely necessary or when going out with permitted work and activities. 

Exempted from the above stay-at-home order were a) healthcare workers; b) emergency personnel; c) authorized national, local government officials and employees; d) drivers and personnel of delivery vehicles carrying all types of cargoes; e) accredited media personnel; f) farmers, fishermen, and agri-business personnel; g) persons in need of medical attention with one companion; h) employees of exempted establishments; i) other persons authorized by the Mayor or his representatives. A highlighted guideline, with an asterisk reminded * workers need only to present company IDs and certificates of employment (COE).

The guidelines included the following health standards under GCQ: 1) wear mask in public, workplace at all times; 2) wash hands frequently, correctly; 3) observe strict physical distancing; and, 4) disinfect personal and work spaces regularly.

Please remember: Regardless of the type of Q, the virus is still here. Please always stay vigilant and safe!

Let us together keep the virus from spreading how we can, where we can, whenever we can. We hope daily data is being collected for barangays and sitios so authorities can be immediately alerted soon as cases increase significantly or quickly.

We sincerely hope everyone will responsibly comply with health protocols and guidelines so that the curve is flattened, cases decreased, and especially, deaths averted.

Hopefully, from now on, with everyone’s cooperation, the new and active cases in the city will not go any higher than 9,000 cases the July 31 total number of confirmed cases reported in the DOH-7 official Facebook page.

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