Editorial: It’s back to MECQ

IT took the delta variant to galvanize Cebu’s population into getting vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Record numbers have been flocking to vaccination sites to get their shot of whatever dose is available. Regardless of country of origin.

The Covid-19 situation in Cebu is currently serious. But only because the health department has been logging new cases in the triple digits for more than 10 days.

On Thursday, July 29, 2021, it recorded 286 additional cases in Cebu City alone for a total of 2,527 active cases. That’s for a highly urbanized center with a population of nearly one million.

No doubt the number of cases is high, especially since this dipped to the hundreds after a slight surge in the beginning of the year. But is this reason to panic and impose yet another lockdown?

The recent clampdown launched by the cities of Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue to slow down the spread of the disease must have attracted the attention of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

President Rodrigo Duterte approved the IATF’s recommendation to place both local government units under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) after more than 10 months of being under the more relaxed modified general community quarantine.

The two cities have appealed the decision.

Department of Health (DOH) 7 Director Dr. Jaime Bernadas had said that he didn’t agree with the IATF “on the reason that we should be considered as one health system because the occupancy rate of one city will not be considered for the city alone, because all the hospitals are sharing the resources and referring to each other.”

However, Dr. Peter Mancao, during a press briefing on Wednesday, July 28, said: “On the part of private hospitals, we are full to the brim. If you go around the hospital, they are full.”

Mancao was referring to admissions at Chong Hua Hospital, Perpetual Succour Hospital and Cebu Doctors’ Hospital. However, he failed to mention that Cebu has 75 private and public hospitals.

According to the DOH 7, the critical care utilization rate in Cebu is still within 60 percent, which is considered safe. But on Thursday, it announced that 32 Covid-19 cases in Cebu are delta variant.

On Friday, Malacañang announced that Cebu City and Cebu Province will also be under MECQ from Aug. 1 to Aug. 15.

With the cat out of the bag, so to speak, Cebu has no choice but to buckle down. There’s nothing else the government or the population can do except make sure that everyone comply with minimum health standards and pray that those vaccines keep coming.