AFTER more than a month on lockdown, the Cebu City Government has lifted the confinement order for Sitio Zapatera in Barangay Luz, Cebu City effective noon of May 20, 2020.
Mayor Edgardo Labella issued the directive in a memorandum to the Philippine National Police (PNP), Cebu City Health Department, and City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.
Barangay Luz officials placed Sitio Zapatera under lockdown on April 7 after recording its first case of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Memorandum No. 2020-296 dated May 20 cited the number of recoveries in the area as one reason to lift the lockdown.
“Considering that sufficient time has elapsed since the City Government imposed a lockdown in Sitio Zapatera, Barangay Luz, and that more recoveries have been logged in the area than new cases of Covid-19, you are hereby directed to implement the necessary measures to effectively lift the lockdown in the sitio,” Labella said in the memorandum reads.
The lifting of lockdown was also upon the recommendation of the barangay resolution dated May 18.
On May 19, 51 patients held at the barangay isolation center in Luz tested negative for the virus and were allowed to go home.
Before the patients were released, the Department of Public Services disinfected the barangay.
As of May 20, Barangay Luz has 201 Covid-19 patients with 76 already laboratory negative.
Meanwhile, the Police Regional Office-Central Visayas (PRO 7) announced that it will continue to keep tabs on Sitio Zapatera despite the lifting of lockdown restrictions, considering that Cebu City is still under enhanced community quarantine.
PRO 7 Director Police Brigadier General Albert Ignatius Ferro believes that the area should still be "strictly monitored" as it is still considered a critical area.
Ferro said they will refer to health officials in Cebu City for safety standards to make sure Covid-19 cases in Sitio Zapatera don’t rise again.
“We will be consulting local health officials if we could relax some stringent measures. But we cannot really be complacent, otherwise, we face the increase of Covid-19 positive cases again,” said General Albert Ignatius Ferro.
Ferro stressed the importance of maintaining safety protocols in Barangay Luz since not all residents underwent testing.
Thus, PRO-7 will add policemen in the area, including soldiers from Central Command to keep a check on residents and violators.
“Most of the people there are not following instructions, that’s why we are deploying our SWAT to conduct recorida (do the rounds) with the armed forces in their armored vehicle para talagang mag sunod sila sa atin (to make them follow us),” Ferro said.
The police chief also commended barangays where residents help keep their places safe, like Barangay Apas, which has several checkpoints manned by volunteers, and encouraged others to do the same. (AYB with CBQ)