DEPARTMENT of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on Wednesday, June 10, expressed concern over the increasing number of coronavirus cases in Cebu City.
As of June 9, Cebu City had 2,988 confirmed cases of coronavirus infections, the highest among the cities.
Quezon City, which has the highest number of cases in Metro Manila, reported 2,452 confirmed cases on June 9.
Deaths in Cebu City are lower at 33 than Quezon City’s 197 while recoveries in Cebu City are higher at 1,710 than the 1,179 in Quezon City.
However, Quezon City has a much lower incidence rate of 835 cases per million based on its 2015 population of 2.936 million.
Cebu City, on the other hand, had the highest incidence rate in the country, which was computed at 3,238 cases per million based on a population of 922,611.
This is higher than San Juan City’s 2,758 cases per million and Mandaluyong City’s 1,964 cases per million.
Because of the rising cases in Cebu City, Central Visayas region has the second highest number of infections in the country next to the National Capital Region or Metro Manila.
As of June 9, NCR had 12,649 cases while Central Visayas had 3,715. Eight out of 10 cases in the region, or 80 percent, are in Cebu City.
Both regions are under general community quarantine (GCQ) until June 15.
"Ang tinitingnan talaga muna natin ngayon is 'yung Cebu City at itong mga ibang lugar dito sa Cebu dahil for the last seven days ay tumataas ang kanilang numero at mabilis 'yung kanilang pagtaas," Año said.
He said National Task Force against Covid-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. will be in Cebu City Thursday, June 11, to meet with local officials.
"Si Secretary Galvez ay pupunta sa Cebu bukas para makipagugnayan sa mga opisyales doon kasama na rin 'yung regional IATF at local chief executives," he added.
Año said they were still discussing whether to lift the GCQ or shift to Modified GCQ in Metro Manila, Cebu City and other areas under GCQ.
He said they will submit their recommendation to President Rodrigo Duterte before June 15. The President is scheduled to meet with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on June 15.
But Department of Health-Central Visayas Director Jaime Bernadas said Wednesday, June 10, that the surge of cases in Cebu City in the past few days was not due to easement of restrictions, but due to backlogs of specimen testing and test results in laboratories last May.
In early May, there was a problem with the availability of reagents, extraction kits and extraction machine, resulting in limited testing of swab samples. Bernadas said they already fixed the problem.
Other areas under GCQ are Cagayan Valley (Cagayan, Batanes, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino), Central Luzon (Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales), Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), Pangasinan, Davao City, and Zamboanga City.
The rest of the country is under modified GCQ, which is one step closer to the new normal.
The Department of Health reported 22,992 confirmed cases of coronavirus infections nationwide as of 4 p.m., June 9. A total of 1,071 had died from the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) while 4,736 have recovered. (Marites Villamor-Ilano/Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo/SunStar Philippines)