The lockdown in Metro Manila or the National Capital Region (NCR) and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal on Monday was expected. On March 22, 2021, these areas were reverted to the general community quarantine (GCQ) status from modified GCQ because their rate of Covid-19 transmission was faster than in the rest of the cities and provinces in the country.
On Monday, March 29, 2021, the Department of Health (DOH) recorded 10,016 new cases, a new record high for the country. The new cases brought the cumulative case count to 731,894 and raised the number of active cases to 115,495. The ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) proclamation was just timely, especially since more people tend to go out during the Holy Week.
But to put matters lightly during the observance of Lent and in this time of the pandemic, Alex, a golf buddy, sent me a post through Viber defining ECQ, which means “Encounter Christ Quietly” this Holy Week. The ECQ declaration for NCR and the neighboring provinces from March 29, 2021 to April 4, 2021 is somehow timely since most residents would be confined in their homes and perhaps do some reflections rather than enjoying in amusement places during this solemn week.
Who’s to blame? No one, but ourselves who do not follow the minimum health protocols. The other factor is, of course, the relaxation of the enforcement of the health protocols because it’s the intention of this government to put the country’s economy back on its feet.
The opening of the borders of the provinces, particularly in Luzon and Mindanao, to spur the country’s tourism and movement of goods and agricultural produce may also have some consequences, although there is no data on it yet. In Cebu, especially in the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue, the rate of Covid-19 infection was a seesaw.
The bulletin of DOH, Central Visayas on March 6, 2021 showed Cebu City had 3,565 Covid-19 active cases with 161 new cases, while the province had 1,299, Lapu-Lapu City had 958 and Mandaue City 982. To recall, Octa Research recommended to the IATF to put Cebu and Region 7 under GCQ, but it did not happen because the local officials, particularly Gov. Gwen Garcia, strongly objected to the suggestion.
Fortunately, with the strong efforts of the local officials and the law enforcement agents in strictly enforcing the health protocols and other measures, the number of active Covid-19 cases in Cebu City was reduced to 1,812 with 80 new cases per DOH 7 bulletin on March 28, 2021, while the Province minimally increased to 1,627 active cases with 72 new cases. Cebu and Region 7 are way below the mark compared to NCR, hence there is no reason to put us under GCQ or ECQ.
When Metro Manila was reverted to GCQ because of the increasing Covid-19 infection, I urged everyone in my SuperBalita column to observe and comply with the health protocols so that Cebu will not revert to GCQ. But there are still hard asses who do not observe the minimum health protocols even after NCR was placed under GCQ and now ECQ. Fellows, let’s comply with the health protocols for everybody’s sake, especially our health and medical frontliners.