CEBU CITY, Philippines (UPDATE) – Cebu province will be placed on lockdown, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia announced Wednesday, March 25.
Garcia told reporters that the lockdown would take effect once the executive order (EO) declaring it is signed in the next 12 to 24 hours. The guidelines of the lockdown will be determined after Garcia speaks with the 44 municipal mayors of Cebu.
“Under a lockdown, all work will have to stop and everyone will be required to stay inside 24 hours a day except for essential services,” she said.
The lockdown will last for a period of 20 to 30 days.
Garcia said the provincial government has enough funds to distribute to the municipalities under its jurisdiction. Within the province's P12 billion budget, there are appropriations set aside for the LGUs and barangays.
"Insofar as the calamity funds is concerned and insofar as the 2020 budget is concerned, we have in fact particular items identified as assistance to local government units, assistance to barangays," she said.
The governor also highlighted that the declaration of a state of emergency by President Rodrigo duterte allows the local government units to tap their calamity funds for the purpose of assistance to residents affected by the lockdown.
Since March 16, Cebu had released piecemeal EOs and provincial ordinances restricting movement of people and mass gatherings in public places.
Garcia announced the impending provincial lockdown a week after Cebu recorded its first case of COVID-19, the coronavirus disease.
Central Visayas Police Regional Director Albert Ferro said police have begun cordoning off an area of Barangay Talamban in Cebu City, where the coronavirus test on a person under investigation was positive.
Department of Health Director Dr Jaime Bernadas, said, however, that they were still waiting for the confirmatory tests from the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM).
He said there were at least 9 tests that initially came back positive and were being considered "presumptive" cases. But the DOH-7 would only recognize those 9 as confirmed COVID-19 cases is when the RITM completes the confirmatory tests.
Cebu City, an independent city within the province, has been under community quarantine since March 16. (READ: Cebu City placed under community quarantine)
Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan earlier announced on his Facebook page that one of the patients was from his city and that they would implement an enhanced community quarantine in the city.
President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Luzon – where most of the confirmed COVID-19 cases are – on lockdown from March 16 to April 12.
Cebu province has over 2.93 million residents, according to the 2015 census. It also has the second busiest international airport in the country.
Garcia said that the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) would stop receiving international flights effective March 27 at 12:01 am.
“It is important that our airport continues to function for the purpose of repatriation. Cargo flights and military must also be able to enter unimpeded,” Garcia said.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country spiked to 636 on Wednesday, March 25.
The DOH in Manila confirmed that 3 new patients died from the virus, placing the total number of fatalities at 38. At least 6 patients have recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 26. – Rappler.com