GOV. Gwendolyn Garcia has imposed a 24-hour curfew for elementary, high school, college and unemployed post-graduate students and persons aged 65 years old and above, effective at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 22, 2020.

“They should just stay at home. They will be confronted by the police or the soldiers if they violate the curfew,” she said in Cebuano.

However, the governor’s order exempts those who need medical attention as long as they can present a certification from their respective local government units.

Everybody else who venture outside their homes will be required to present identification (ID) or a resident certificate to determine age and occupation. Those who cannot provide any ID will be advised to return home if they have nowhere important to go.

“As of now, the general rule is they carry an ID if they go out,” Garcia said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

Garcia also announced that all retailers in the province must adhere to the price ceiling for basic commodities.

They must also limit the sale of certain items like canned goods, rice and corn, among others, to prevent panic buying and hoarding.

She received reports that her earlier request to retailers to implement this policy fell on deaf ears.

“As of now, they have not complied despite my earlier request,” Garcia said in Cebuano, adding that the Province will come up with an ordinance that will fine violators or revoke their business permits.

Garcia urged all local government executives under the Province to adopt the same guidelines and for their local councils to pass an ordinance on this matter.

These will be under an executive order (EO) that she will sign on Sunday, she said, adding that the Provincial Board will pass the ordinance on Monday, March 23, that will lay corresponding penalties to add more teeth to her order.

The governor also reminded mayors that cockfighting is not allowed after receiving reports that a barangay captain in the southwestern town of Dumajug was arrested for organizing one to commemorate his birthday.

Aside from being an illegal gambling activity, Garcia said it violated her EO 5-1, which discourages congregations, mass gathering and sporting events.

“I urge all mayors, all cockfighting is not allowed anymore. This executive order applies to all, whether we are in the same political party or not. You have to follow,” she said. “I will also hold barangay captains liable if they don’t ban this activity. I will not hesitate to penalize them,” she added in a mix of Cebuano and English.

The governor’s announcement of a 24-hour curfew for the elderly was well-received by certain quarters.

Raul “Pokang” Cabahug, former head of the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs in Mandaue City, said this should protect senior citizens from the Covid-19, considering they are the most “vulnerable” to the disease.

The 67-year-old Cabahug encouraged senior citizens to heed the governor’s order since it is for their own good.

Meanwhile, Jaime Bernadas, Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas director, said 50 tests for Covid-19 were conducted at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center sub-national laboratory in Cebu City. Forty-six tested negative, while four were sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa, Metro Manila for confirmation.

As of 4 p.m. Saturday, the DOH Central Office announced 77 new Covid-19 cases. This brought the total number of confirmed cases to 307. The death toll rose to 19, with one new mortality.

DOH Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire also announced five new recoveries, bringing the total to 13.

Vergeire said the DOH is happy to note that some of the patients who have recovered from Covid-19 were elderly, or those who belong to the “vulnerable” sector.

Most of the people who died from Covid-19 were persons 60 years old and above, with preexisting medical conditions.

The DOH has yet to release the profile of the new mortality, those who recovered and the new confirmed cases. (ANV / PJB / PR / LMY / with reports from KFD & WBS )