Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu cities want to remain under ECQ
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu in Cebu province said on Tuesday evening, May 12, they wanted to remain under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or "lockdown" while mass testing efforts are ongoing.
Earlier on Tuesday, Malacañang announced that the national task force against COVID-19 had loosened restrictions in Cebu province, except in Cebu City, placing the localities under general community quarantine from May 16 to 31. (READ: Metro Manila, Cebu City, Laguna under 'modified' ECQ until May 31)
Cebu City remains under ECQ.
“While we welcome such development, we could not simply ignore the harsh realities of our assessment,” Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu said in a joint statement with Cebu City.
“It is still not safe to proceed with the general community quarantine, more so that a greater part of the community has not been tested for COVID-19,” the local governments said.
The letter was signed by Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Ahong Chan, and Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella.
“We understand the clamor of the people to ease the restrictions, as this would mean a semblance of normalcy,” the statement read, “but it would not be logical, considering that, based from initial estimation, approximately 90% of the cases in our region are asymptomatic.”
Cebu City was the only city in Central Visayas to remain under ECQ because it was determined to be “high risk” by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) for having the most number of cases in the country, or 1,660 as of Tuesday. (READ: MAP: Where are the coronavirus cases in Cebu City?)
Mandaue City, meanwhile, has at least 109 cases, while Lapu-Lapu City has at least 43, as of Monday, the latest official data available from the Department of Health Central Visayas.
The 3 cities are coordinating to test at least 40,000 households by May 21. This would be done through rapid testing, followed by swab testing for those who will have an initial positive result from the rapid test.
While the cities are ramping up testing, they estimate that they would only be able to test only about 10% of their population.
Lapu-Lapu City has a population of about 408,000, Mandaue City has a population of 362,000, while Cebu City has about one million residents.
Since cases were lower in the rest of Cebu province, those areas were declared “moderate risk” by the IATF. Cities under GCQ will have restrictions eased up on travel and allow more industries to operate. (READ: EXPLAINER: What happens under general community quarantine?)
“We expect that the national IATF-EID will acquiesce to our appeal since we have nothing but the best interest of our people in mind,” they statement read.
The cities said they only want more time to test the public first to determine if they are ready to move to GCQ. “We just wanted to ensure that it would be safe for our people once we are ready to migrate to General Community Quarantine,” they said. – Rappler.com