Cebu City relaxes restrictions as COVID-19 cases decline


Posted at Sep 02 2021 05:21 PM | Updated as of Sep 03 2021 12:25 PM

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CEBU CITY (UPDATE)— The Cebu City government has eased restrictions as COVID-19 cases began to decline, officials said Thursday.

Acting Mayor Mike Rama has released an executive order extending the city's modified enhanced community quarantine status from Sept. 2 to 7 but with a few relaxed restrictions for individuals already inoculated against the respiratory illness.

Restaurants are now allowed to have dine-in services of up to 10 percent capacity while personal care services such as salons and barbershops can reopen up to 30 percent capacity. However, only fully vaccinated people can avail of these services.

The city government will also continue implementing a liquor ban.

Rama said the city was also "improving" its number of vaccinated residents and ensured that "vaccination centers will be fast in their service."

Councilor Joel Garganera, who heads the city's emergency operations center (EOC), announced that the city was now experiencing a downward trend in COVID-19 cases.

On Wednesday, the city reported 116 new COVID-19 cases, far from the over 300 daily new cases it recorded in mid-August, according to data from the Department of Health (DOH).

Cebu City currently has 3,997 active cases, data showed.

According to the DOH, the city also recorded its lowest positivity rate on Wednesday, at 10.83 percent compared to the previous average of 25.41 percent.

Garganera, however, noted that a positivity rate above 5 percent is still flagged by the World Health Organization as concerning.

"Mataas pa rin (It's still high) but then again everything is going down," he told Teleradyo Friday.

The city also now averages 6 deaths per day compared to 12 to 14 deaths in August.

But Garganera said the city's 15 hospitals remain overwhelmed, with the occupancy rate reaching 80 percent.

"They are still full and lack manpower," he said.

Garganera, however, noted that the situation is not the same as in August, when patients waited outside hospitals.

Meanwhile, the DOH in Central Visayas said it was looking into increased prices of essential drugs used for COVID-19 patients.

The regional DOH earlier received a letter from the Cebu City EOC, reporting price increases.

"There is quite a shortage in medicine but we are looking into the [suggested retail price] and will call for a coordination meeting," said Assistant Regional Director Guy Perez. 

EOC monitoring showed that certain drugs used for COVID-19 treatment have hiked prices, with Favipiravir (200 milligram/tab) being sold for P12,000 from P10,500 and Remdesivir (100 mg) at P6,000 from P4,000.

"We want these life-saving medicines to be regulated accordingly so as to prevent hoarding and give a fighting chance for COVID-19 patients of surviving the disease," Garganera added.

— Report from Annie Perez


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