Espinoza: Is Cebu City ready for GCQ?

Free Zone

IS EVERYONE expecting that tomorrow, the Cebu City's enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) would be downgraded to general community quarantine (GCQ) or at least a modified GCQ? Personally, I'm not expecting of the downgrading to happen. I think the city is yet not ready. All that I hope though is for the coronavirus to just go away like a passing wind and to never return.

My other wish is for the Cebuanos to obey and observe the health protocols that the Department of Health (DOH) imposed to lessen the contagion. Stay at home unless necessary to access food and medicine; avoid the crowd or social distancing; wear face mask whenever in public or office; and regularly wash our hands with water and soap or apply alcohol. They're easy to comply with, right? Let's all cooperate.

There is a possibility to downgrade Cebu City to GCQ, said Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu. But it's only a possibility because the decision rests with President Rodrigo Duterte. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, vice chair of the IATF, doesn't want to change Cebu City's ECQ status because of the rising number in Covid-19 cases. Cebu City Vice Mayor Mike Rama even echoed the stand of Secretary Duque.

The purpose of downgrading the city's status to GCQ is to reopen its economy as the non-essential establishments would now be allowed to do business. At present, only the essential businesses, like the public markets, supermarkets and stores are open. Under ECQ, many are out of work and they rely for their daily sustenance from the City Government's relief goods.

Secretary Cimatu's idea is tenable because it would help perk up the city's economy and bring back to work the workers whose companies were closed due to ECQ. Cimatu recommends a selective or granular lockdown of areas in the city where the number of Covid-19 cases is high, leaving the other areas not affected by the virus allowed to open the businesses.

But let's not forget that if Cebu City is downgraded to GCQ, it doesn't follow that the strength of the coronavirus is also reduced. Please remember that whatever is the status of the quarantine in a locality, coronavirus is still much around. Remember? When Cebu City was in GCQ, most people forget or intentionally ignored the fact that Covid-19 hasn't left yet that almost everyone went out of their homes as if celebrating a victory and the consequence is awful.

Whoever is the author of this FB post, please allow me to repost it in this corner since I find the warning timely and suitable under the present environment we're in. "WARNING: Places are opening because of the economy. Not because it is safe. Keep that in mind. Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Keep social distance. Avoid crowds -- Stay safe. Your Family needs you." (@AJASPEKEE)

In my Superbalita column on Monday, July 13, I urged the local government officials, the police and President Duterte's appointed implementers of the quarantine and health protocols to pursue the strict enforcement of the quarantine measures and health protocols whatever is the status of the quarantine, be it the modified GCQ or the new so-called new normal since people tend to ignore the red flags.

Pardon me, but I'm not aware as of this writing if the Cebu City Council under Vice Mayor Rama has passed an ordinance that will penalize violators of the health protocols. The tirade of President Duterte that Cebuanos are gahi'g ulo (hardheaded) should have moved the City Council to pass an ordinance that will regulate and punish violators of sanitation and health regulations.


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