CEBU

Espinoza: Covid-19 second wave possible!

Free Zone

THE flattening of the curve of coronavirus infection should not be a reason for us to be over confident and put our guard down. Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force against Covid-19, warned of a possible second wave of the virus infection if we discontinue what we have accomplished so far.

The discipline imposed on the people to wear face mask, observing social distancing, staying at home, and frequently washing our hands with soap or putting on alcohol has proven to be effective in preventing the transmission of this deadly virus in the meantime that the vaccine is not yet available.

The goal, Galvez said, is to avoid a potential second wave of infection. Strict enforcement of the quarantine and health protocols are the main factors in the flattening of the curve of infection. Cebu City is a classic example that it saw a surge in Covid-19 cases during the general community quarantine (GCQ) period than when the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was enforced.

Galvez said the provinces under Region-4A (Calabarzon) that were placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) together with the National Capital Region last month saw a downtrend from a peak of 1,584 new cases to 829 cases. Cebu City tremendously dropped to 46 new cases as of September 4 from a peak of 997 in July 30. The drop in Covid-19 infection in Cebu City was largely due to the strict enforcement of the quarantine and health protocols by the police and soldiers.

Mandaue City recorded 86 percent recovery rate from Covid-19. SunStar-Cebu reported that as of September 7, Mandaue City has 1,839 recoveries out of the total 2,139 confirmed Covid-19 cases. The city has 198 active cases and 102 deaths. Mayor Jonas C. Cortes issued Executive Order 83, the city's guidelines for MECQ, which is similar to Cebu City's quarantine guidelines.

Mandaue City and Cebu City still do not allow the traditional PUJs to operate. Only buses, modern PUJs, and taxicabs duly authorized by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) are allowed to operate in Cebu City and Mandaue City. But in Mandaue City, tricycles are allowed to operate per EO 83.

As I've said before and I will say it again that while majority may already have complied with the minimum health standards that the government has implemented, there are still those who do not comply with the proper wearing of face mask and social distancing, particularly in public markets that strict enforcement is still a must.

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The plan of the Information Technology-Business Process Management (IT-BPM) to expand its operation in the countryside to spread the economic opportunities is good news not only for the call center agents, but also for the local government units that are outside of the urban centers, like the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu.

Wilfredo Sa-a, IT-BPM consultant, told SunStar Cebu that BPM companies can build pop-up sites in different towns or cities outside of the metro area to generate employment and stimulate economic activity in the province. The only problem perhaps is the internet connection. But Dito, the third telco, could probably serve the purpose.

I remember about a year ago that former Bogo City mayor Junie Martinez in our meeting said that Bogo is open for IT-BPMs to operate in their city. Martinez said this could afford opportunity for call center agents who are from Bogo to return home. The dispersal of IT-BPMs and other industries to the countryside could also reduce the in-migration to urban centers.


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