Cebu City to seek looser COVID-19 quarantine, says spike in cases due to aggressive testing


Posted at Jun 16 2020 08:21 AM | Updated as of Jun 16 2020 08:54 AM

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MANILA — Officials of Cebu City will ask the national government to ease its coronavirus lockdown to help its economy recover from the pandemic, as it attributed a spike in its cases of the respiratory disease to 3 months of massive testing.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday placed the city under ECQ or enhanced community quarantine, which is stricter than its previous general community quarantine, after it overtook Quezon City as the area with highest count of the disease in the Philippines.

Cebu City has tested some 25,000 people since March and confirmed 3,434 cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday, said Mayor Edgardo Labella.

Of the total number of patients, 1,858 or about 54.10 percent had recovered, which is higher than the national recovery rate of about 22 percent, he said.

The city tallied 37 deaths due to the disease, which translates to a fatality rate of 1.08 percent or about a fourth of the national fatality rate of 4.23 percent, said the mayor.

Massive testing is "the best way to fight this invisible enemy" and Cebu City "will never stop" this measure even if this pushes the case count up, said Leballa.

"Kailangan talagang we can go back to general quarantine because kawawa ang business natin dito. We will make the necessary adjustments and eventually, in a few days, we will make the necessary appeal," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(We really need to go back to general quarantine because the businesses here suffers.)

GCQ lets almost all industries operate up to 75 percent except amusement centers and those with mass gatherings, while the MECQ allows certain businesses to operate at only 50 percent of their capacity.

Cebu City will increase its hospital beds for coronavirus response, given that patients from neighboring towns and Bohol and Leyte provinces also flock there, said Labella.
The health department is also helping the city increase its number of nurses, who are lured to work for information technology companies that offer higher pay than hospitals, he said.