President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night ordered Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to lead the government’s Covid-19 response in Cebu City, as the city saw a continuous rise in infections.

Duterte’s announcement came two days after the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases said it was considering creating an operations center of the National Task Force (NTF) in Cebu and delegating a deputy implementer for the entire Visayas to evaluate ground-level response of Cebu’s local government units.

Duterte particularly called on the health and interior departments and the NTF to assist Cimatu in overseeing Cebu’s Covid-19 response.

“I am just sad that Cebu has to undergo that kind of painful situation. Nonetheless, kaya natin yan and I’m sure Cimatu, he cannot solve the problem on his own, but he can make recommendations. Let us know what we must be doing,” Duterte said in a televised briefing.

NTF Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez said he and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III would accompany Cimatu to Cebu Tuesday.

Last June 15, Duterte placed Cebu City under enhanced community quarantine until June 30 due to the rapid doubling time of Covid-19 cases in the city.

Cebu City has tallied 4,449 total Covid-19 cases, of which 2,221 were active. The city has recorded 42 recoveries and 82 deaths. John Ezekiel J. Hirro