EOC: No lockdown in Cebu after election

COUNCILOR Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), has dismissed rumors that a lockdown will be imposed after the May 9, 2022 elections.In a press conference Friday, May 6, Garganera said people peddling this fake information are only creating unnecessary anxiety among the public.“For the past weeks, we have been hearing rumors circulating not only in social media even bisan sa sulod sa mga sitio nga matod pa nila, mo lockdown kuno ang Cebu inig human sa eleksyon. Para nako, dako kaayo ni siyang binoang (inside the sitios. According to them, Cebu will go on lockdown after the elections. For me, this is total nonsense),” said Garganera.The councilor added that some people are making a comparison with the situation of India that experienced a surge in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases after staging its election.Garganera said the situation is far different since the vaccination rate in India is only three percent while here in Cebu City, the number of vaccinated individuals has already surpassed the targeted population.“If we might be experiencing a spike, dugay na unta (it would have already occurred a long time ago). Gani, daghan ta og gipahigayon nga mga (But we’ve even held many) political gatherings by the hundreds of thousands, pero (but) did we ever experience a spike or any slightest sign nga ni saka atong kaso (that our Covid cases went up)? Wala (No),” said Garganera.Best pandemic situationThe councilor said the pandemic situation of the city in April by far was “the best Covid situation for this year.”“April Covid numbers were very good. We managed to bring down and sustain daily confirmed positive cases in single digits,” said Garganera.The data from the EOC showed that the number of active cases in the city is now down to 27, and there are 62 of 80 barangays that have recorded zero transmission of the virus.Garganera also announced that on Friday, of the 577 individuals who were screened for the virus, none tested positive for Covid-19.Garganera said if a spike in cases were to happen, the EOC and the Department of Health would be ready and capable to respond if worse comes to worst.The isolation facilities and capacity in both private and public hospitals in the city are also enough to cater to individuals in the event of a spike in cases, he added.“We can’t compare our situation now with that of the past years; it was painful. What we went through was grave. All of us sacrificed. But somehow we were able to manage and we were able to overcome it through our cooperation,” said Garganera.Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, chief pathologist of the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH 7), said the “rumors on post-election lockdowns are baseless, for now.”Loreche said cases in Central Visayas, particularly in Cebu Island, remain very low while the capacity utilization rate for both DOH-retained or public hospitals and private hospitals in Cebu are within the safe numbers or well below the 60 percent capacity utilization rate at less than 30 percent.When asked about the possibility of a lockdown after the elections, Loreche said there was no indication whatsoever.“What we need to remind everyone (of) is to practice our minimum public health measures, especially this coming election day,” she added.The wearing of face masks is required, along with the one-meter social distancing inside the polling places.Cyber crimePolice Lt. Col. Wilbert Parilla, deputy city director for operations at the Cebu City Police Office, also said the police would not implement any post-election lockdown as there was no basis for such.Instead, he said, the Philippine National Police Regional Anti-Cyber Crime Unit 7 has been tasked to investigate who are behind the Facebook posts on the supposed post-election lockdown that are causing alarm among the public so that it can file cases against these people.Parilla urged netizens not to share such social media posts, saying the police may also file cases against them.President Rodrigo Duterte has declared May 9, 2022, the day of the 2022 national and local elections, a special non-working holiday to enable the people to properly exercise their right to vote.The Commission on Elections said 65.8 million individuals in the Philippines are expected to cast their vote on Monday. (IRT, MKG, AYB, TPM)