Briones: State of things

On the go

THE island of Siquijor went for more than four months without reporting a single case of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), the only local government unit in Central Visayas to have that distinction.

That all changed, of course, over the weekend when it reported two cases.

According to the Provincial Government’s official Facebook page, one of the patients hails from the town of Lazi, while the other is from the town of Larena.

It’s not known if the two are asymptomatic or are very sick. They just tested positive for Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes the highly infectious disease.

Both patients had just arrived from Metro Manila. They were only able to go home after the Department of the Interior and Local Government permitted travel between areas on general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ.

By the way, President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation to place Metro Manila and four more provinces in Luzon on modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

Actually, the Philippine College of Physicians called for more stringent measures to give the government “timeout” to refine its pandemic control strategies, but, as Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque pointed out, that was not possible considering that the National Capital Region accounts for more than half of the country’s economy.

Because it has come to that.

The Philippines and the rest of the world have found themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place, to choose between general welfare and economic survival.

It’s the same situation here in Cebu City. Authorities were only forced to ease quarantine restrictions to breathe life into a flagging economy that has been devastated by months of lockdown. That’s what I think, anyway.

The city has been lucky to keep its head above water all this time. And barely, mind you. But if it really wants to be home and dry, it will need residents to cooperate. Fully.

Many people have been criticizing the City Government for its handling of the health crisis, and I don’t blame them, but they also need to do their part.

It’s no coincidence that the Joint Task Force Covid Shield has instructed police commanders to make their hotlines accessible to the public, especially for complaints related to quarantine violations in their respective communities.

Yeah, it has gotten that bad that authorities are encouraging citizens to snitch. And can you blame them?

In Cebu City alone, police arrested 355 quarantine violators on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, the day the city was placed on GCQ. Most of them were apprehended for being outside without a quarantine pass. Their common excuse was they didn’t know it was not allowed.

Yeah. And I’m a happily married 36-year-old man with children.


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