CEBU

Espinoza: Covid-19 second wave possible

Free Zone

THE flattening of the curve of Covid-19 infections 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 disciplinary measures imposed on people to wear face mask, observe social distancing, stay at home, and frequent hand washing with soap or alcohol proved effective against transmission while a vaccine is not yet available.

The goal, Galvez said, is to avoid a potential second wave. Strict enforcement of quarantine and health protocols is the main factor in the flattening of the curve. Cebu City is a classic example, seeing a surge in Covid-19 cases during the general community quarantine (GCQ) period that the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) had to be enforced.

Galvez said the provinces under Region-4A (Calabarzon) that were placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) with the National Capital Region last month saw a downtrend, from a peak of 1,584 to 829 new cases. Cebu City’s tremendously dropped to 46 new cases as of Sept. 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 by the police and soldiers.

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

Mandaue City and Cebu City still do not allow traditional PUJs to operate. Only buses, modern PUJs, and taxicabs duly authorized by the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) are allowed in both cities. In Mandaue City, though, 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, there are still those who do not comply with them, particularly in public markets, where strict enforcement must still be 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, which 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.


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