MANILA – Violators of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Cebu City will be immediately arrested as the area is emerging as the new epicenter of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said authorities will now enforce stricter measures in Cebu City as the city "is more likely" the new epicenter of Covid-19 in the country with the number of infections higher than the National Capital Region.
"We are making sure all positive cases in Cebu City are in quarantine facilities," he said in a television interview Monday.
PNP chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa, said that under their guidance, they will immediately effect arrests on violators even without warning to stop the spread of the virus.
“But generally, ang behavior ng mga Cebuano, sumunod naman sila pero may mangilan-ngilan na pasaway. (But generally, Cebuanos are compliant but there are a few who are really stubborn). Majority follows the quarantine imposition of Cebu,” Gamboa told reporters in a press conference in Camp Crame.
Cebu City was reverted to ECQ, the strictest among quarantine classifications in the country, last June 16 following a surge of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections.
Based on data from the Department of Health (DOH), Cebu City has the highest number of Covid-19 cases with 4,490 as of June 27, compared to other provinces and cities nationwide.
Of the reported cases in the city, 3,903 are active, while 77 people have died.
Gamboa also said the PNP is addressing their own force resiliency and supportive healthcare systems in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Latest data from the PNP showed the National Capital Region has the highest number of confirmed cases among cops with 285, and 450 probable and 89 suspect cases. This is followed by the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO 7) with 169 confirmed cases, 156 probable, and 694 suspect cases.
“This is the reason why we had to deploy augmentation forces to Cebu. The PRO-7 may have to adapt rotational deployment of its front line personnel in lockdown areas, because its effective strength will be depleted when some personnel will need to undergo quarantine,” said Gamboa.
He opined that NCRPO has fewer suspect cases than PRO-7 because of the greater availability of Covid-19 testing facilities in Metro Manila than in Central Visayas.
“This is part of the reasons why we are preparing to put up another PNP-operated RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) laboratory in the Visayas. We are closely monitoring the situation in other regions where there are emerging situations of a spike in Covid cases so that we can initiate a proactive response,” he noted.
As of Sunday, the PNP recorded 671 confirmed cases among PNP personnel, representing 1.9 percent of the total nationwide cases recorded by DOH.
“A total of 342 personnel of 51 percent have since recovered from the infection with 211 or 62 percent completely recovered and have been restored to fit-to-work status, while 131or 38 percent of recovered PNP patients are awaiting completion of the required quarantine period,” Gamboa said.
At present, the PNP has 320 active cases, 287 of whom are in quarantine facilities for mild to moderate cases, 18 are in hospitals, while 15 are under home quarantine.
Meanwhile, the nine Covid-19 fatalities in the police force represent 0.7 percent of the death toll in the country. (PNA)