DAVAO

Editorial: Lockdown looms but...

WITH the increasing Covid-19 cases in Davao City, there is a huge possibility that the city could be placed under a stricter community quarantine.

In a span of one week, October 18 to 24, Davao City has logged 504 new cases, the most number of new cases in a single week. It also logged the highest number of new cases in a single day on October 24 with 118.

It was also the same week when the city logged the highest number of deaths in a single week at 22.

On October 23, the city also logged the highest number of new cases in the whole country.

The city also already logged a total of 1,167 new Covid-19 cases from October 1 to 24. This is more than double the number of new cases logged in August (500) and September (580).

Likewise, new deaths for the month is already at 65, the highest compared to any other month since the pandemic started in March.

While new recoveries are also at its highest, 655 from October 1 to 24, the city reverting to a general community quarantine (GCQ), modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), or ECQ is highly probable.

It can be observed that it was during these quarantine measures when the transmission and new cases were predominantly low. During ECQ, new cases in the city were only a single digit for most days. During MECQ, GCQ, and the early weeks of MGCQ, new cases were ranging between single digits or below the 50s for most days. It was only in October when new cases were hitting beyond 50.

Some are speculating that it could be the lifting of the 24-hour liquor ban that is the culprit of the sudden spike in Covid-19 cases. Since drinking sessions are not mainly happening in food establishments, many of these sessions are possibly happening in homes or areas where law enforcement officers could not see.

The Department of Health and the city government have also said the culprit is a group or family gatherings happening early to late in the evening. Workplace clusters are also becoming spreaders of the Covid-19 as workers infected with the virus bring it at home and infect their family.

The last thing the city mayor wants to happen is the city to be placed under stricter quarantine measures. Most businesses, which employ hundreds of individuals, are barely at breakeven levels. Another lockdown could cause more harm than good. More people would lose their jobs and business would have to close.

However, to prevent another lockdown, the city could impose measures discouraging large gatherings. Executive Order Nos. 55 and 55-A have partly addressed this already with the controversial 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and liquor ban.

But the city could do more by strictly monitoring gatherings of both public and private individuals. Several events organizers have been following the city’s call to limit gatherings and ensure health safety protocols. However, they cannot totally reprimand groups or individuals who still refuse to follow the guidelines on gatherings.

The city needs to add some teeth to regulations on gatherings. The call to strictly regulate gatherings has also been making rounds on social media.

For the workplace issue, it has already addressed this with EO 56 ordering government and private offices to adopt alternative work arrangements until the end of the year.

The city could also strengthen its granular lockdowns -- barangay, purok, house, or street. These lockdowns, especially in crowded areas, have shown a reduction in new cases in those areas.

The city could avoid another lockdown if it imposes stricter measures on the culprits of the fast transmission of Covdi-19 cases.

However, as we have said before, the city can only do so much. The bulk of the prevention of Covid-19 rests in the hands of the residents themselves. If they refuse to follow health safety guidelines, cases would not stop increasing. If you look at nations that have been effective in controlling the disease, one of the common threads among them is the people themselves choose discipline over finding loopholes.


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