"Tell us what you need and the Cebu City Government will find a way to help you."
This is what Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella told the the chiefs of different government agencies and public and private hospitals in a meeting on 31 January 2020 to determine how the city government can help in addressing the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
This, as the city government has also announced that it will be giving out free surgical masks to the public following the 2019-nCoV scare.
During the meeting, Mayor Labella mentioned that Cebu City will augment personal protective equipment such as gloves, protective suits, and thermal guns for employees at the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) and the Department of Health (DOH 7) who are taking lead roles in addressing the health concerns brought by the 2019-nCOv.
Officials from Hotels, Resorts and Restaurants Association of Cebu Inc., Mactan-Cebu International Airport, and Cebu City’s Health Department also attended the meeting.
Cebu City has been in a state of preparedness since Wednesday, 29 January 2020. This allowed them to use of 70 percent of the local disaster fund for disaster prevention, mitigation, and preparedness to address the viral threat.
“If there is a balancing of interest, first and foremost, it is the interest of the welfare and the lives of our people in the city and in the province. Of course, it might affect some tourism activities, but they can later, you know, if they have some problems with economic dimension, we can find a remedy later. If it pertains now to the life, the welfare, and the health of our people, that is something that we can never be compromised,” Mayor Labella said.
The City Government established an Emergency Operation Center at the Mayor’s Office to closely monitor and get updates on the 2019-nCoV.
Even before the directive of the Department of Interior and Local Government, Cebu City, through a resolution sponsored by Councilor Dave Tumulak, has already directed its 80 barangays to establish quarantine areas as holding centers for suspected patients and to immediately coordinate with DOH officials.