Children are now seen as possible “super spreaders” of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Cebu City.

Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, Department of Health Region 7 (DOH-7) chief pathologist and regional spokeswoman for Covid-19, said there was a 70-percent increase in the number of children getting infected in Cebu Province and Cebu City.

Loreche said the increase in cases among children started late last year, with the highest number of new infections recorded in January.

“We are looking at children because they go around and play without wearing masks and go home and hug their parents,” she said. “We are also looking at the possibility that the children are the super spreaders.”

Local health officials initially attributed an increase in Covid-19 infection to “post-holiday” celebrations, but their data told them otherwise.

Loreche said they were also considering the “possibility” of the UK variant’s presence in Cebu City since the increase in cases was like the new variant’s increase rate of 70 percent.

“Now we are seeing clustering of cases even inside the homes. Meaning to say, there’s something driving the increase,” Loreche said.

The DOH-7 Covid-19 tracker reported that in January 2021 alone, Cebu City logged a total of 1,122 new cases and eleven deaths.

The Cebu City Emergency Operations Center observed an increase of about 400 to 500 in new infections just in January, as supposed to December’s records.

In a recent study, the University of the Philippines OCTA Research Group noted a 6 percent increase in the city’s positivity rate. They have also seen “rapid transmission” of the pathogen that could add “more than 150 new Covid-19 cases per day in two weeks.”

Col. Josefino Ligan, Cebu City Police Office director, ordered in early January a “stricter enforcement of health protocols” to curve Covid-19 cases, resulting in the arrest of 1,825 individuals, consisting of 27 minors.

The police also issued show-cause orders against 286 establishments for violating health protocols. Ryan Sorote