Restrictions eased further as Duterte places Cebu City under GCQ

President Rodrigo Duterte downgraded Cebu City to general community quarantine (GCQ) on Friday, July 31.

The new classification takes effect on Saturday, August 1. Cebu City had been under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) since July 16.

Lapu-Lapu City and Mandaue City will remain under GCQ.

Under GCQ, operation is allowed for agriculture, fisheries, and forestry sectors, food manufacturing and all supply chains, including ink, packaging and raw materials, supermarkets, hospitals, logistics, water, energy, internet, telecommunications, and media.

Restaurants may only open for takeout and delivery, and while non-leisure stores in malls may be opened.

Cebu City had been under GCQ before – between June 1 and 15. During this period, hospitals began filling up and cases in Cebu City saw a sharp spike in cases numbering in hundreds daily.

According to the University of the Philippines OCTA Research, the replication rate (R0) in Cebu City has already gone down to 1.14 from a high of 2 back in June.

This means the spread of the virus has slowed down to an average of one patient infecting one other person, from a previous high of one person infecting two others.

The researchers attributed the slowing down of transmissions to the lockdown and recommended that Cebu City continue its strict measures to build on its gains.

Environment Secretary Frank Cimatu, who was assigned to oversee COVID-19 response in Cebu City, however, said that they would instead go for what he called “granular” or street-level lockdowns.

Cebu City reported 72 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, July 30. This brought the city’s total to 8,966 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 3,236 active cases.

The total number of infections in the Philippines reached 89,374 confirmed coronavirus cases. – Rappler.com

Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers Cebu and the Visayas for Rappler. He covers all news in the region, but is particularly interested in people stories, development issues and local policy making.

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