OCTA recommends stricter quarantine rules for Cebu City

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 28) — Researchers monitoring the country's pandemic trends on Wednesday urged officials to impose stricter mobility restrictions in Cebu City due to a surge in COVID-19 cases there. Currently, the city is under modified general community quarantine.

"The leadership may want to contemplate closing down restaurants and watering holes where people drink. Consider even a stricter quarantine classification to help slow down [the virus]," OCTA Research fellow Ranjit Rye said in a briefing.

OCTA fellow Guido David said Cebu City is currently logging 240 cases per day.

"It had a surge early in the year...Now they are having a surge again," he told the same briefing.

'Full to the brim'

Dr. Peter Mancao, who serves as an adviser for Acting Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, said Chong Hua Hospital, Cebu Doctors University Hospital, and the Perpetual Succour Hospital have reached full capacity amid the recent uptick in coronavirus infections.

"On the part of the private hospitals, unfortunately, we are full to the brim, if you go around to the three major hospitals, they are all full. The emergency rooms are all full," Mancao said in a separate presser.

"They will double-check and they will call the hospital [if you have reservations.] Otherwise, you will stay in the ambulance for 24 hours until [there is] a vacancy in the ER," Mancao added.

For his part, Rama called on residents to stay home as much as possible amid the current COVID-19 situation of the city.

"Do not wait for a stringent lockdown. Without having a stringent lockdown, families should initiate a lockdown among their family members. If you do not have important trips outside of the house, do not go out," Rama said.

Rama told CNN Philippines' The Final Word that local authorities will be meeting on Thursday - to be led by Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia - to hear different sides and possibly discuss the implementation of strict community restrictions in their areas.

He also raised the need for more vaccine doses. He noted that Cebu City aims to inoculate at least 700,000 people to achieve herd immunity.

Meanwhile, the local government is increasing its healthcare capacity.

Among its plans is to hire 200 nurses - half of them will be assigned to the Cebu City Quarantine Center and another 100 to be deployed to private hospitals.

The Cebu City Sports Center will also be converted into an isolation facility.

Cebu City Health Officer Dr. Jeffrey Ibones said barangay health centers will provide COVID-19 testing for people with flu-like symptoms.

CNN Philippines' Dale Israel contributed to this report