CEBU

Briones: To extend or not to extend

On the go

RESIDENTS of Cebu City deserve a heads-up about their fate after the weekend. It's the least the administration of Mayor Edgardo Labella can do after it placed the city under a state of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) two months ago, which deprived many citizens of their usual freedom by restricting their movements, among others.

We need to be told what to expect next. Will the mayor extend the ECQ or won't he? It's a straightforward question that deserves a straightforward answer.

When the matter was brought up to him Tuesday, May 26, 2020, here's what he said: “Yes, I have a plan. I had been meeting with our colleagues in the City Government. We really have to consult our health officials but rest assured, our decision will be on data based, scientific and strategic collaboration with health officials.” Hmm. We've all heard that before.

The ECQ has already been extended twice and the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) shows no sign of abating.

The reason the whole city was placed on “lockdown” was to prevent the spread of the disease. That doesn't seem to be working.

Perhaps, the City needs to change tack in addressing this health crisis.

First, it needs to acknowledge that the worstcase scenario it was expecting when the pandemic first arrived on our shores did not happen.

I don't mean to sound callous. I know some of us have lost loved ones to Covid-19 -- and my heart goes out to them -- but we need to look at the bigger picture.

Jonji Gonzalez, assistant to Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Dino, said it himself.

“The expected deluge of patients didn't come or has not yet come because 80 percent of the positive cases are asymptomatic,” he said.

That explains why our hospitals are not overwhelmed by Covid-19 patients or why the City's quarantine facility, the Bayanihan Center at the old Sacred Heart School gym, only has 28 occupants.

It also explains why people who live in areas that have been placed on lockdown continue to go about their daily routine as if nothing has happened.

I'm not saying the danger has passed. Many of us can and will be infected if we are not careful.

The only consolation is, for every 10 persons who test positive for Covid-19, eight do not get sick. That leaves two persons the City should focus on.

Identify the vulnerable and keep them safe if possible, I say, so the rest of us can move on.

Of course, that cannot happen while we remain in the dark.

(pjbriones@sunstar.com.ph)


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