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Executives in Cebu City dismiss talk of a Covid surge and urge locals to vote.

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Even as the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) allayed fears that coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections would grow after the polls, Mayor Michael Rama urged voters to get out of their homes and vote in the May 9 national and municipal elections.

In a radio interview, Rama stated that the city has opened up after gaining ground against Covid-19 and has effectively shifted to Alert Level 1.

He did, however, advise electors to adhere to the minimal public health requirements while voting.

“As with any other effort, we must approach all of this with a sense of shared responsibility. Go to your polling places, but wear a (facial) mask, maintain social distance, and wash your hands frequently, he said.

Karla Henry, a spokesperson for Rama, said in a statement that the city is on the right track with its vaccination initiatives.

“Mayor Rama’s current direction is very much aimed toward reopening, going back to how we used to be.” We should be able to maintain our economic recovery achievements if we can keep things this way. And, as long as we continue to exercise shared responsibility, we should begin to consider the holding of large public events as part of the new normal, rather than as a possible threat,” Henry remarked.

Covid-19 instances are unlikely to increase after the May 9 elections, according to EOC head Joel Garganera.

“The worry of reappearance of cases is quite unlikely seven days before the election,” he said.

“More than the intended population has already been vaccinated,” Garganera said, “raising the probability of diminished public transmission as evidenced in recent numbers.”

“Moreover, all voters would wear a face mask during the voting process because it will be mandatory at the polling stations,” he added.

Cebu City is in a “very safe” state, according to the EOC, which reports that there are just 38 ongoing cases and a low positive rate.

“In fact, we have zero instances today (Monday).” None of the 455 people who were tested were found to be positive. Imagine that seven days before an election, despite massive, large crowd gatherings due to political demonstrations, we have zero cases,” Garganera added.

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