Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and death continue to march upward in Cebu City, all serious cases involving even vaccinated people, and more new cases caused by ignoring the safety health protocols. According to the Cebu City Emergency Operations Center (EOC), the average number of new cases has risen about three digits every day.
The latest figure released by the Department of Health (DOH 7) over the weekend on the number of cases have tremendously increased and hospital and health care utilization has reached 51 percent, which is nearing the 60 percent critical rate.
A source from the medical profession said that some Covid-19 patients are lining up in some private hospitals’ emergency rooms as some cannot be immediately accommodated in Covid-19 designated rooms. Photos were posted on social media showing ambulances lining up, bringing Covid patients to the emergency rooms. I don’t know if these photos were verified as authentic.
This situation has caused alarm among health authorities. The City Government is planning to reactivate those quarantine facilities that have been recently closed in preparation in case there is a surge. Although, there are many hotels and pension houses operating in the city that have been converted into quarantine facilities for mild and asymptomatic patients, but they are to be paid.
And because of the alarming increase in number of cases, EOC and city officials are implementing stricter measures to contain the spread of the virus. It re-implemented the liquor ban as there were reports that establishments like bars and restaurants are not implementing health protocols since the liquor ban was lifted last May. The curfew hours have been adjusted from 11 p.m. to 10 pm to 4 am. As it has been observed that people tend to hang out in establishments serving alcoholic drinks even until midnight. Acting Mayor Michael Rama has already issued Executive Order 136 to this effect.
With the reimposition of the liquor ban, those habitual drinkers and establishments serving alcoholic drinks and beverages will again complain because of this prohibition. Well, drinking is not totally banned, but they can be consumed in proper places. Just store wine or beers in your house and drink there. Nobody will arrest you if you drink inside your house alone.
Experts say the reason Covid-19 cases are increasing is that we tend to be complacent, especially with the ongoing vaccination rollout. We ignore health protocols. Look what happened last Sunday at the Plaza Independencia and Fort San Pedro. There was a mass gathering of people who went there to relax. No traffic agency is monitoring public transport if the drivers and conductors observe the seating capacity with one seat apart. Hotels and function venues allow guests more than the allowed capacity.
Because of the ongoing vaccination, people tend to be complacent and lower their guard. This is the reason there is a surge. In order to prevent the spread of Covid-19, we should go back to the basics. Practice frequent handwashing with soap, water and alcohol; practice proper cough etiquette; cover mouth and nose using tissue when coughing and sneezing; observe and maintain one-meter distance between yourself and others; wear face mask and face shield and go out only for essentials like buying food, medicines and medical consultation.
In Lapu-Lapu City, Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan also issued EO 2020-95 imposing a liquor ban, karaoke and videoke activities. But what I can expect to become controversial is Section 4 of his EO which states: “Presentation of vaccination cards in public and private markets, supermarkets, convenience stores, department stores—Effective August 25, 2021, only vaccinated persons, upon presentation of their vaccination cards, shall be allowed to enter public and private markets including department stores, supermarkets, grocery stores and convenience stores.”
I can foresee that non-vaccinated individuals will “violently react” to this guideline as this will be viewed as a discriminatory act. But I will salute Ahong if he will sustain his own order. If you are a politician like Ahong and if you’re thinking of your re-election bid, especially that it will be an elections period next year, you should not implement this kind of measure. Why? Because you are courting trouble. People, especially non-vaccinated ones, will naturally oppose this. And because they will be disappointed, they will not vote the politician behind this move. So, Ahong’s re-election bid will be jeopardized. Atong huwaton kung barugan ba gyud ni Ahong o ba kaha bakwion kining iyang lagda.