Some Cebu City households got multiple quarantine passes

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 25 2020 08:28 AM | Updated as of Jun 25 2020 08:50 AM

People line up outside a supermarket in Cebu City during the COVID-19 pandemic on June 16, 2020. Cheryl Baldicantos, ABS-CBN News

Only one member of every household in Cebu City is allowed to go on supply runs during the coronavirus lockdown, but some families received multiple passes, Mayor Edgardo Labella said Thursday.

Local officials earlier this week suspended the quarantine passes given to 250,000 out of the city's 1.1 million residents following a spike in cases of the coronavirus disease.

"Mayroong nabigyan noon, isang household, tatlo, dalawa... We really have to be very selective sa ating pagbibigay ng mga quarantine pass," Labella told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

Residents were "religious observing the health protocols" when the city was first placed under the strictest lockdown form or the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). However, they thronged outside their homes when the lockdown was downgraded to general community quarantine or GCQ, he said.

Duterte last week placed Cebu City back under ECQ that limits economic activity to utility services, food, water and other essential sectors.

On Monday, he ordered Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, a former military chief, to oversee the quarantine of the city whose COVID-19 cases recently breached the 4,400-mark.

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The city's coronavirus tally is high because it rolled out mass testing and contact tracing as early as March and had screened some 25,000 people, said Labella.

"This is the best way to fight the pandemic because this is an invisible enemy... Maski lumolobo pa (even if the tally swells), I don't mind for as long as I will be able to test and trace," he said.

Labella said about 48 percent of patients in his city had gotten well, which is higher that the national recovery rate of about 23 percent.

About 690 of the patients were from depressed areas which were placed under "segmental lockdown" that covered household, streets or sitios. Only 19 patients from these areas had yet to recover, he said.

Some 90 percent of the city's patients had not developed symptoms, he added.

To avoid stretching the resources of Cebu City hospitals that also cater to neighboring provinces, asymptomatic patients are confined at barangay isolation centers that have 4,000 beds occupied, only a fourth of which are currently occupied, said the mayor.

Those with mild to moderate symptoms are brought to 4 other quarantine centers that have a combined bed capacity of 660 to 700, he said.

Local officials "really admire" Cimatu because "he was not looking at the situation in Cebu City, but also the entire Region 7," said Labella.