I know the national government is just trying to avert a disaster. The detection of the highly transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country has raised alarm bells, prompting it to resort to drastic measures to slow down the spread of the disease.
However, as we all know, local government units (LGUs) have to strike a balance between public safety and economic survival. After all, life doesn’t stop because of Covid-19.
In Cebu Province, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia has been implementing programs to minimize the impact on the livelihoods of citizens affected by the health crisis.
With the Capitol’s Sugbusog program, non-farmers are encouraged to grow their own vegetables and raise livestock in their backyards, while the Sugbo Negosyo provides financial assistance to those who are interested to set up small and medium-sized businesses.
Policies to keep the disease at bay have been in place for the last 16 months, which have allowed LGUs like Cebu Province to move forward and address the problems of hunger and unemployment, which are all too real.
The presence of the delta variant on our shores should not change anything. It should not paralyze us.
Malacañang recently announced that the whole of Cebu will be placed under modified enhanced community quarantine for two weeks starting on Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021. This means Cebuanos can expect more stringent quarantine restrictions to be in place during this period.
But save for locking everyone up inside their homes, the government can only reinforce existing minimum health standards and vaccinate more people in the face of the delta variant threat, which is highly transmissible but not necessarily deadlier.
That’s what the World Health Organization has been saying all along.
That’s why I was relieved when I found that in Cebu City, “public transportation will remain operational, businesses will stay open and vaccinations will continue.” I guess Acting Mayor Michael Rama must have realized that we can’t go back to square one.
Don’t get me wrong. The danger is real. Our health care infrastructure can still be overwhelmed, although I tend to believe the Department of Health 7 that the critical care utilization rate in Cebu is still within the 60 percent safe level.
In Cebu City, the City Government has started to convert the Cebu City Sports Center into an isolation facility in case the number of Covid-19 patients continues to go up.
Although, as a friend suggested, it would have been better to turn the facility into a vaccination center because it can accommodate far more people and it is also very accessible.
At this point, the government has done all that it can to protect its citizens. The least the public can do is to cooperate.