CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) is not recommending for Cebu City to implement stricter border controls as a way to prevent another surge of new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH-7 spokesperson, said they had been advising officials in the city government to strictly implement and enforce minimum health standards after a spike in new cases was observed in the past few days.
However, Loreche said they were not keen on suggesting stricter border controls, saying that most of the new COVID-19 cases came from gatherings such as parties.
“We notice that the increase is attributed to cases within the city, and not travelers from outside (the city). If we analyze the data, the spike of the cases came immediately after Halloween wherein we saw a lot of people doing parties and gatherings,” said Loreche in a virtual press conference on Monday, November 23.
“We have been advising to (officials of the city government) to strictly implement minimum health standards. Close monitoring of sources of transmission and more visibility of law enforcers to instill discipline among the public,” she added.
The city government issued an Executive Order (EO) that effectively placed additional and more stringent protocols for travelers coming from outside Cebu province, and bound for Cebu City.
The new rule, which was made as part of the city’s response towards the increase of new COVID-19 cases that started during the second week this month, took effect last November 20, 2020.
Loreche also said their department is advising local officials in Cebu City to do intensified surveillance and aggressive testing at the barangay level.
“They can start surveillance testing as we did with Carbon Public Market… And possibly, randomize testing also in government agencies, our transport sector, and even private establishments,” said Loreche.
Data from DOH-7 showed that Cebu City’s number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 371 as of November 22, 2020, after logging 22 new patients on the same day.
It was an increase of around 141 percent from the 154 active cases recorded last November 1, 2020.
Active cases refer to patients still infected with the virus and have yet to recover.
Meanwhile, Loreche said DOH-7 recommended for Cebu City to stay under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the most relaxed form of community quarantine, before 2020 would end.
“We are also reminding everyone to remain mindful of the virus, and follow health protocols now that Christmas and New Year are drawing near,” she said. /dbs