CEBU CITY - Containment of the COVID-19 outbreak in severely hit Cebu City will be top priority for police, Joint Task Force COVID Shield commander Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said on a visit here Saturday.
Eleazar came to the city to assess the situation here as it remained under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the strictest lockdown level, since June 16, amid the rising number of infections. The city is the only part of the country under the highest quarantine level.
Cebu City has recorded over 4,400 COVID-19 cases, the highest of any city in the country.
“The first line of defense is containment and we have to implement that,” said Eleazar.
More than 100 Special Action Force commandos arrived in Cebu on Friday to augment local forces in implementing ECQ protocols. They visit small sitios to make sure everyone stays at home.
Eleazar, for his part, conducted aerial surveys and inspected quarantine checkpoints.
“The city looks like a ghost town,” he said, citing the heightened police presence.
Meanwhile, Gen. Robert Ancan, head of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command, confirmed that additional medical personnel from the military will also augment health workers in the city.
Doctors from Western Visayas will arrive on June 30 to help private hospitals as utilization of critical care capacity in the city continues to increase.
Quarantine passes with unique QR codes have already been printed and given out to barangays. Only one pass per household is allowed, with a number-coding scheme to be enforced to limit the days residents may leave their homes.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier appointed Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, a former military chief, to oversee the quarantine of the city as the coronavirus infection continued to spread.
After initial assessment, he noted that local officials lacked coordination in addressing the outbreak.
- Annie Fe Perez, ABS-CBN News