Two Cebu towns impose "hard lockdown," heightened restrictions due to rising COVID-19 cases

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Cebu (CNN Philippines, July 25) — Two towns in southern Cebu have imposed tighter restrictions anew following the rise of COVID-19 cases in their areas.

The first one to impose a "hard lockdown" is the town of Samboan after a spike in cases that initially affected town policemen and eventually infecting some residents and detainees.

Samboan is imposing a hard lockdown on seven coastal barangays mostly located in the town proper from July 23 to July 28. The barangays include Suba, Poblacion, Bonbon, Tangbo, Dalahikan, Colase, and Bato.

No one is allowed to enter or leave the barangays unless for essential or authorized travel.

All of the tourist spots as well as public markets, restaurants, and eateries are closed. Some shops are selling essential goods only. All forms of public transportation have been suspended.

Tourists currently accommodated are not allowed to leave resort premises.

In an executive order, Mayor Emerito Calderon, Jr. admitted that the municipality of Samboan has "a rising number of COVID-19 cases, symptomatic and asymptomatic with COVID-suspect deaths for the past two weeks."

As of July 24, Samboan has 67 active cases where 17 are new infections. The town is located some 153 kilometers southwest of Cebu City and has a port connecting to Negros Oriental, which also has a rising number of COVID-19 infections.

Neighboring Santander, meanwhile, is "limiting the movement" of its residents, allowing only essential travel from July 26 to Aug. 1, 20.

Mayor Marites Buscato issued an executive order listing the restrictions that will be imposed on the town for one week starting Monday.

Among them are the suspension of religious, sports and outdoor activities. Picnics and drinking of liquor in public are also not allowed. Loitering on the streets will be prohibited.

Resorts are allowed to operate but guests will remain within the premises. They will not be allowed to go swimming in the beaches to avoid crowding.

Santander has 17 active cases with one new death as of July 24. Seven of the infections happened within one week.

Both towns have important seaports that connect to neighboring provinces. They are also popular tourist destinations because of their white sand beaches and waterfalls.

According to the Department of Health in Central Visayas, Cebu province recorded a total of 1,769 cases for July 24, where 207 were new infections. It also posted 3 new deaths.

Cases in Cebu City are also rising with 308 new infections as of July 24. The city now has a total of 2,009 active cases, according to DOH-7.