CEBU CITY, Philippines – Mandaue City was the first local government in Metro Cebu to announce it was dropping its curfew when the city shifts to Alert Level 2 on Wednesday, February 16
It was earlier on Monday, February 14, when it was announced that the alert level in Cebu province and its independent cities were to be downgraded to the less restrictive quarantine status.
“Daghan ang mga negosyo ug mga empleyado dinhi sa dakbayan ang naglisod ug recover ilabi na nga anaa pa tay gipa tuman nga curfew,” Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes said.
(Many businesses and employees in the city had a difficult time recovering, especially with the implemented curfew.)
The city’s curfew was previously from 11 pm to 4 am.
“Karon nga gipaubos na ta sa alert level 2, atoa nang wagtangon ang curfew para sa tibuok dakbayan sa Mandaue,” Cortes added.
(Now that we’re under alert level 2, we will remove the curfew for the entire city of Mandaue.)
It is the first city to lift its curfew in Metro Cebu since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020.
According to OCTA research, Mandaue City has seen a negative 56% growth rate, with active cases steadily dropping. As of Monday, Mandaue only has 504 active cases.
It’s healthcare utilization rate, or hospital occupancy rate, or the number of COVID-19 beds occupied was at 42% as of February 12. The Department of Health’s danger zone is pegged at 60%.
Cases declining in Cebu City, too
Cebu City also reported a significant decline in its COVID-19 cases over the past week.
While there are still at least 3,901 active coronavirus cases in the city, the positivity rate has decreased significantly since the Omicron-driven surge peak in mid-january.
From a whopping 43% at the time, the number of individuals testing positive out of the total number of tests was at 8.58% as of Sunday evening, February 13. At least 46 out of 536 individuals tested positive in Cebu City on Sunday.
That number though is still above the World Health Organization’s threshold of 5% as an indicator that any locality has the pandemic under control.
Earlier on Monday, Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera confirmed that 174 frontline health workers tested positive for coronavirus in Metro Cebu.
Although he noted this is way down from the 752 frontline workers who tested positive in early January, indicating the city’s case count is already under control.
Garganera said that the government’s downgrading of quarantine status for Cebu City was the “best Valentine’s gift” for him. “We should continue to work together protocol wise, nothing is impossible. We can defeat COVID to return to normal if we take precautionary measures at all times,” the councilor said in Cebuano.
Cebu City did not say if it would follow Mandaue’s example of lifting their curfew as well.
Dr Mary Jean Loreche, DOH Central Visayas chief pathologist, said that she hoped that the entire Cebu would be further deescalated to Alert Level 1 – what the national government calls “the new normal” – in the coming months.
“It’s [the downgrading of quarantine] the coordinated involvement of everyone. And, this after Odette and the Omicron surge, Cebu can now move onwards preparing for endemicity, rebuilding, and integration,” Loreche said. – with reports from Lorraine Ecarma/Rappler.com