News Release

National gov’t response to COVID-19 in Cebu well underway – Palace

The Palace on Thursday, June 25, said that government intervention in Cebu City is currently underway as members of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) recently met to discuss the city’s current COVID-19 situation.

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, Jr. said that National Task Force Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr and Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu, who was recently designated as overseer of government COVID-19 response in Cebu City, met with some IATF members and 25 doctors in Cebu to assess the needs of the city to address the COVID-19 situation.

“Alam nyo na po siguro na-revoke na po yung naunang 250,000 quarantine passes. Papalitan po ito para masigurado na hindi po masyadong maraming tao ang lalabas ng kanilang mga bahay except to buy essentials,” said Secretary Roque.

Further, the Palace official said that police presence in the province has already been augmented to implement the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) protocols. “[D]umating na rin po ang mga kasundaluhan na tutulong po sa kapulisan to enforce yung extended enhanced community quarantine dyan po sa Cebu,” said Sec Roque.

Also, the Department of Public Works and Highways will be donating air conditioned vans as temporary shelter for frontliners.

In the same media briefing, Deputy Chief Implementer against COVID-19 and Task Force T3 Czar Vivencio “Vince” Dizon gave an update on the country’s testing capacity.

Secretary Dizon said that because of the country’s increased lab capacity, steady supply, and automation of processes, there is now faster turnaround time of tests. From more than two weeks in March, turnaround time for tests as of June 2020 is 48 to 72 hours. Accordingly, turn-around time for sending OFWs home after arrival in the country and after undertaking COVID-19 RT-PCR test was also shortened to only three days.

The Deputy Chief Implementer of the government’s COVID-19 response also said that the 50,000 testing capacity target has already been surpassed and is now at 51,302 as of June 19. Similarly, national COVID-19 laboratories are now at 66 as of June 24.

With the increased testing capacity, actual tests have also increased, said Sec Dizon. From 17, 414 tests in March, actual tests as of June 22 is at 612, 571.

Actual tests are expected to increase even more in the coming weeks, after the initial 1.05 million testing supplies arrived in the country. This, said Sec Dizon, will make it possible to achieve the target of conducting 1 million tests by the month of July.

The Palace, in the same briefing, announced the participation of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to the 36th ASEAN Summit tomorrow, June 26, via video conference. Chief of Presidential Protocol and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Robert Borje said that the Chief Executive, together with his counterparts in the region, will discuss and address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. They will likewise exchange views on other issues of international and regional importance.

Viet Nam chairs this year’s 36th ASEAN Summit. President Duterte will be joined by key members of his cabinet, which include the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, the Secretary of Trade and Industry, and the Secretary of Social Welfare and Development. ### OPS-PCOO