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Cebu City is a new Covid epicenter in the Philippines: Official

BACK TO WORK Edsa, Metro Manila’s main road, will be reconfigured to move passenger buses to the inner lane as part of new measures as hundreds of thousands head back to work on Monday. Transport officials say physical distancing will be maintained in all public transport vehicles, including this taxi whose driver hopes to be protected from any coronavirus infection from his passenger. —NIÑO JESUS ORBETA AND MARIANNE BERMUDEZ. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MANILA, Jun 30, 2020, The Manila Times. Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Monday said Cebu City “is more likely” the new epicenter of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country. Central Visayas’ premier metropolis had outpaced the cities in the National Capital Region (NCR) in Covid cases, he noted, The Manila Times reported.

“Cebu City is more likely the new epicenter, compared to NCR,” Año said in a television interview.

Based on the Department of Health Covid-19 tracker, Cebu City had 4,562 cases, the highest among provinces and cities as of June 28.

Quezon City came next with 3,161 cases, followed by Manila with 2,290.

Cebu province, with 1,036 cases, has fewer infections than Cebu City.

Stricter enhanced community quarantine measures are being enforced in Cebu City. “We are making sure all positive cases in Cebu are in quarantine facilities,” Año said.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa said quarantine violators in the city would be promptly arrested.

The local police force had been reinforced with 250 officers who had been shipped in, he added.

Gamboa said the Central Visayas Police Regional Office might have to rotate its frontliners in anticipation of infected personnel who might need to be quarantined.

The National Capital Region Police (NCRPO) has the highest number of infected officers, with 285,450 probable and 89 suspected cases.

The Central Visayas police has 169 confirmed cases, with 694 suspected cases and 156 probable cases.

“Take note that NCRPO has fewer suspect cases than Central Visayas, presumably because of the greater availability of testing in Metro Manila than in Central Visayas,” Gamboa said.

The PNP is preparing to put up another Covid testing laboratory in the Visayas, he noted.

Higher

On Monday, the Health department reported 986 new Covid-19 cases, increasing the total number to 36,438.

270 more people recovered from the disease, bringing the overall total of recoveries to 9,956, while 11 deaths were added to the death toll of 1,255.

Malacañang said there would have been more cases had the government not acted swiftly to curb the spread of the virus.

Palace Spokesman Harry Roque Jr. claimed that the country was winning the war on Covid-19.

“In terms of positivity rate, in terms of case doubling rate, in case of mortality rate — we are winning. In fact, we defied what was predicted by the UP (University of the Philippines) study. We have limited the cases to 35,000 instead of what could have been at least 3 million cases,” he said in a press briefing.

Roque maintained that the country took the right steps in containing the disease amid a report from the World HealtH Organization (WHO) that the Philippines had the fastest rate of transmission in the Western Pacific region.

“The President (Rodrigo Duterte) did the very best that he can and we are in control of the situation,” he said.

Roque noted that UP had said that without a lockdown, there would have been 3.6 million Covid-19 cases.

The Palace, meanwhile, disagreed with the WHO statement.

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