Lapu-Lapu City appeals Alert Level 3 status; cites ‘wrong’ data

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan said Friday the city government is appealing the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) placing the island city under Alert Level 3 due to the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019’s (Covid-19) Omicron variant.

In a statement, Chan said there is no truth to the reports that the island city would be placed under lockdown, citing some “fake news” currently circulating that alarmed the residents.

“Dili makatabang ang pagpakatap og sayop nga balita nga makapa-panic sa mga tawo kay anaa kitang tanan sa kalisod karon (Spreading fake news does not help except to create panic for the people because we are all in these difficulties right now),” he said.

Chan criticized the reports submitted by the assistant head of the Lapu-Lapu City Hospital that hospital beds intended for Covid-19 patients are already full, which was the basis of the IATF in declaring a higher alert level for the city.

Based on IATF guidelines on the nationwide implementation of the alert level system for Covid-19 response as of Dec. 21, 2021, Alert Level 3 “refers to areas wherein case counts are high and/or increasing, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at increasing utilization.”

However, Chan said his office would conduct an investigation why such kind of defective data reached the IATF. He did not elaborate on the data that he termed as inaccurate.

In his earlier statement, he said he was shocked with the IATF declaration, noting that the city government is still preoccupied with relief and reconstruction efforts as Lapu-Lapu City was one of the badly-hit localities in the Visayas during the onslaught of Typhoon Odette in December last year.

The chief pathologist of the Department of Health (DOH) 7 (Central Visayas), Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a message that the Lapu-Lapu City government has sent a letter to the regional health office for a review of the declaration.

She said the DOH-7 has submitted a recommendation to the Department of the Interior and Local Government, which in turn, would bring the appeal to the national government through the IATF.

Meanwhile, Loreche said although any local government unit (LGU) here may experience a surge in Covid-19 cases, they can manage it.

“Having experienced three surges with the Delta variant-driven surge as the most challenging of all, the LGUs have the tools in their hands already to combat any variant of concern and the most current of which is Omicron,” she said.

Loreche noted that LGUs in Cebu and other provinces in Central Visayas are activating the containment measures, such as temporary treatment, monitoring and isolation facilities, ensuring the adequacy of medicines and drugs, coordination with the hospitals, and the availability of testing.

“Added to this is the messaging to our people, allaying their fears so as not to cause panic. Giving guidance on where to go and when to consult, making sure also that hospital beds are reserved to the moderate to severe and critical cases only,” she said.

As of the moment, the increase in Covid-19 cases might still be the result of the post-holiday celebrations, including the effects of “Odette”, Loreche said, adding, however, that vaccination works against the virus and could save lives.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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