Cimatu recommends easing of quarantine restrictions in Cebu City
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said on Wednesday that he recommended the easing of the quarantine restrictions in Cebu City.
In a Viber message to Manila Shimbun, Cimatu, however, said that President Rodrigo Duterte will make the final decision.
"While I recommended for the lowering of the quarantine restrictions of Cebu City, based on my actual observations and data on the ground, it will still be the collective recommendation of the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease) Principals plus the suggestions of Technical Working Group and science based consultants which will then be decided by the President," he said.
Duterte designated Cimatu to oversee the actions being undertaken in Cebu City, which has been under the enhanced community quarantine since June 16 due to high cases of new coronavirus.
Duterte is set to announce the new quarantine classification of the provinces, highly urbanize cities and independent component cities later today after meeting with some members of the IATF.
Cebu City is the only place in the country classified by the IATF under ECQ or lockdown.
Cimatu said he used three factors to make his judgement on whether to retain ECQ or lower the quarantine level in Cebu City.
These are the virus developing situation and possible direction; the government balancing response in relation with health considerations and the economy; and the reaction and compliance of Cebu communities to the government health protocols and guidelines.
Cimatu noted that for this week, COVID-19 infected a daily average of 82 individual new cases, lower than last week, 12 deaths and 156 recoveries.
"The government health response has improved with increase in hospital bed capacities, isolation rooms and testing and contact tracing was accelerated with the arrival of experts led by Mayor (Benjamin) Magalong of Baguio (City) who trained PNP (Philippine National Police) personnel," he said.
Magalong was designated as COVID-19 tracing czar.
Cimatu also said the morale of the nurses and health personnel from the private hospitals were increased with additional financial incentives.
He noted that the compliance to health protocols by the people of Cebu as well as the "home response with ECQ restrictions" have greatly improved.
"With modest improvement of the government response and cooperation of the people, I'm optimistic that ECQ will be downgraded," Cimatu added.
Contrary to Cimatu's recommendation, National Task Force Against COVID-19 spokesperson Restituto Padilla said that Cebu City may remain under ECQ as the supporting data do not support further easing. Celerina Monte/DMS