PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has ordered local government units (LGUs) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to implement existing protocols “with greater urgency and necessity” in the face of the threat posed by the coronavirus Delta variant.
“I urge the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) and the PNP to implement the existing protocols with greater urgency and necessity. It is only by imposing these restrictions that we can fight the threat of Delta variant,” Duterte said in his weekly public briefing on the Covid-19 situation.
Duterte also urged the LGUs to intensify their vaccine information and education campaign to convince more people to get themselves vaccinated.
“The importance of vaccines, you must get the vaccine or you die,” said Duterte.
“So kung ayaw talaga ninyong maniwala eh ‘di huwag na lang kayong lumabas ng bahay para wala kayong mahawa. At kung ganyan ang — if that is your state of mind, actually to me you are antisocial, para kang galit sa tao. You are antisocial because in face of the danger confronting you and knowing fully well that it is really dangerous, you choose the path of this resistance by just not getting the vaccine at all,” he added.
As of July 18, 2021, a total of 15,096,261 doses have been administered to 10,388,188 individuals, including 4,708,073 who have also received their second dose.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said they were studying to expand the travel ban to include those from Malaysia and Thailand.
The ban, which was imposed as one of the measures to prevent the entry and further spread of the Delta variant in the Philippines, applies to travelers coming from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Indonesia.
It was extended again until July 31 with Indonesia joining the list only last week.
In Cebu, local officials are now implementing strict measures, including temporarily closing areas where public gatherings were often known to occur, to prevent the further spread of the Covid-19.
In Cordova town, officials ordered the closure of Bantayan Bay, Rorocay Beach, Bakhaw Paradise and the Centennial Food Park until August 2.
The temporary closure of the four well-known public destinations was due to the rising Covid-19 cases.
In Mandaue City, officials will tap dormitories and pension houses as temporary isolation centers as active Covid-19 cases in the city continue to rise.
Mandaue City Administrator Jamaal James Calipayan said more isolation centers were needed since the City’s two isolation centers at the former North Bus Terminal, which can accommodate 60 patients, and Norkis Park, which can accommodate 90 patients, only have a few beds left.
On Tuesday, July 20 the Department of Health Central Visayas (DOH 7) reported 489 active Covid-19 cases in Mandaue City.
Mandaue’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) also reported a steady increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the city earlier this month.
Calipayan said they plan to enter into agreements with dormitories and pension houses that can offer big bed capacity rather than open several small capacity facilities so as to manage the deployment of the City’s personnel and not spread the workforce too thin.
The City has stopped using public schools as isolation centers after teachers began using them as venues to distribute modules and hold other educational activities.
Calipayan said they also launched a probe into the loss of personal belongings and the damaged appliances at the Mandaue City Central School (MCCS) after the school was used as an isolation center.
Last week, MCCS teachers complained they lost stand fans, industrial fans, electric kettles, speakers, kitchen tools and laptops.
Appliances in their classrooms such as TV and electric fans were reportedly also smashed while the copper was removed.
In response to allegations that some teachers were unable to retrieve their personal belongings because they were unaware that their classrooms would be among those to be used as isolation facilities, Calipayan said the use of MCCS as isolation center was properly announced and construction took more than a month.
At that time, the entry of teachers, school staff, and Department of Education staff into the school premises was not prohibited, Calipayan said.
Of all the schools used as isolation center, only the MCCS issued these types of complaints, Calipayan added.
In Cebu City, Councilor Joel Garganera, EOC deputy chief implementer called on people to take responsibility and observe the health protocols.
“There will be no end to this virus if people don’t take responsibility. It’s not up to the government or police; it’s up to you,” Garganera said in a Facebook post.
Garganera made the appeal after 120 new Covid cases were recorded in Cebu City on Monday, July 19 out of the more than 1,000 individuals tested.
The situation worsened on Tuesday when the DOH 7 recorded 181 new cases in the city, raising the city’s active cases to 1,581.
Cebu City’s cases began to rise last July 13 when 98 new infections were recorded by the DOH 7. The next day, the Covid count breached the three-digit mark with 115 new cases recorded.
New cases reported slid to 99 on July 15, then 85 on July 16, only to reach a new high of 196 on July 17, the highest for the year.
As for Cebu Province, DOH 7 recorded 1,307 active cases.
Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia has often called on Cebuanos to fight Covid-19 by boosting their immune system through drinking vitamins, eating healthy food, and doing regular exercise. (ANV, KFD, PAC)