MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday retained the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) status in Cebu City due to a continuing increase in the number of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections in the area.
Duterte made the announcement in a public address, as he acknowledged that Cebu City is having a “hard time” coping with the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 crisis in the country.
“Ito yung ano ha, ECQ, enhanced community quarantine. Ito ‘yung pinakamataas (ECQ or enhanced community quarantine is the highest [community quarantine classification]),” Duterte said. “Ang enhanced community quarantine, Cebu City. Kayo lang (Only Cebu City will be under enhanced community quarantine).”
Based on the presentation of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Cebu City would remain under ECQ until July 15.
Duterte earlier placed Cebu and Talisay cities in Cebu province under ECQ and MECQ from June 15 to 30 due to the uptick in Covid-19 cases in the areas.
However, the community quarantine classification in Talisay City was downgraded to GCQ on June 22 following the high number of recoveries of Covid-19 patients.
Cebu City now a Covid-19 ‘hotspot’
Duterte expressed dismay that Cebu City is now considered a “hotspot” for Covid-19 because many people living in the area are defying quarantine protocols.
Sad about the current situation in Cebu City, Duterte told residents there to “shape up” to enable the government to effectively fight Covid-19.
“Cebu [City] is now the hotspot for Covid. Bakit? Eh walang sumusunod eh. Marami sa inyo, hindi sumunod (Why? Because no one is following. Many of them are not following),” he said. “Look, I am here to run government. I am not here to stay forever. As a matter of fact, I am on my last two years. But you better shape up.”
Implementation of new quarantine classifications
Duterte, in his latest speech, announced that the more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) would be implemented in Metro Manila, Benguet, Cavite, Rizal, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Ormoc, Leyte, Southern Leyte, and Cebu’s Talisay City, Minglanilla, and Consolacion.
Duterte added that starting July 1, modified GCQ (MGCQ) would be imposed in Abra, Baguio City, Ifugao, Kalinga, Ilocos Norte, La Union, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Isabela, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Angeles City, Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Lucena City, Palawan, Puerto Princesa City, Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, and Naga City.
He said Capiz, Iloilo City, Negros Occidental, Bacolod City, Cebu province, Bohol, Negros Oriental, Tacloban City, Western Samar, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur, Bukidnon, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Cagayan de Oro would also be under MGCQ.
MGCQ, Duterte said, would also be implemented in Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao City, Davao de Oro, Cotabato, South Cotabato, Agusan del Norte, Butuan City, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao.
MGCQ in the said areas would be imposed with “strict local action,” according to Duque’s presentation.
This means that there should be “localized community quarantine, zoning, strict enforcement of minimum health standards, scale up of health system capacity, and isolation of overseas Filipinos, locally stranded individuals, and close contacts” in areas under MGCQ with “strict local action.”
Duterte said the rest of the country would be placed under MGCQ.
“‘Yung (The) modified general community quarantine, this applies for the rest of the country,” he said.
‘Substantial compliance’ in NCR
Duterte noted that while the government has yet to address the problems currently being faced by Cebu City, it has noticed the “substantial compliance” of Metro Manila residents with the government’s quarantine rules.
Thus, there is a “very good” chance to avoid the rising number of Covid-19 cases in Metro Manila, Duterte said.
“Manila and the rest of the greater Manila area, there was a substantial compliance. I wouldn’t say that there was no violation. There were violations but not in a scale I saw in other places,” he said. “Here in Manila, have a very good chance of at least avoiding it (Covid-19).” (PNA)