President Rodrigo Duterte blamed Cebuanos last night for the rising number of COVID-19 cases in their province, now considered the new coronavirus hotbed in the country.
Duterte said in a televised speech last night in Visayan and English, “You Cebuanos, don’t be angry at me. I just want to be frank with you. It’s good that we are honest with each other. I’ll go there and be honest with you once I visit. You are so stubborn.”
“This is not the first time. This is not the first national emergency that Cebuanos are so slow to act. If they do something, they complain first,” the president added.
“If you get sick, sorry. There’s nothing we can do. That’s what Cebuanos do. Why are there more cases? Because you were too confident and too complacent about it. It’s like you ignored it so it happened,” he said, and added that he was going to send Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to oversee the COVID-19 response in Cebu province.
Duterte’s diatribe against the province comes after Cebu City recorded the highest number of active COVID-19 cases in the Philippines at 3,471. The rest of Cebu province, meanwhile, has 846 active cases, the fourth highest in the country. The situation on the island has compelled Duterte to bring Cebu City back to the enhanced community quarantine, the strictest form of lockdown.
Cebu City was already under the general community quarantine early this month but a team of researchers from the University of the Philippines (UP) warned that the number of infected residents in Cebu province could balloon up to 11,000 by June 30. The conclusion was based on the island’s reproduction number (R0) of 1.96, higher than Metro Manila’s, which stands between .96 and 1.19.
The (R0) is the expected number of people that one COVID-19 patient can infect in a susceptible population. This means that in Cebu, one patient can infect up to two people, a scenario that led the UP researchers to declare the province the new COVID-19 hotspot in the country after Metro Manila.
At present, the Philippines has one of the world’s longest lockdowns, surpassing even the one imposed on Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first discovered. As of yesterday, there were 30,052 reported COVID-19 cases in the country with 7,893 recoveries and 1,169 dead.
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