Cebu COVID-19 cases expected to keep increasing with targeted testing

CEBU City health workers conduct contact tracing and take swab samples in the village of Mambaling on May 1 as part of the local government’s massive rapid testing program to isolate positive patients, majority of whom are asymptomatic. — CEBU CITY PIO

CORONAVIRUS disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the Central Visayas region, which breached the 1,000 mark on Sunday, is expected to keep increasing with targeted testing in three major urban areas, according to the regional health office. Central Visayas, which had 1,081 cases based on test results released May 3 afternoon, had the third highest in the country after the capital Metro Manila and the neighboring region of CALABARZON, composed of the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon. “The increase is expected as our contact tracing teams are working double time to test the contacts of those previously tested positive in the community, closed settings and in the health facilities as well as among our repatriates,” Department of Health-Central Visayas (DoH-6) said in a statement. “The present data we have paint a sobering picture, but the increasing trend is bound to continue as we start this week the targeted, strategic community testing in the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue,” it added. The targeted testing is set to start Wednesday. Cebu City had the highest COVID-19 cases with 900, including over 300 at the city jail. Mandaue comes second with 89, with 60 at its jail facility. Meanwhile, no new cases have been recorded in the other provinces of Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor, which have all started to ease restrictions on May 1 under the general community quarantine guidelines. — MSJ

ECCP-Southern Mindanao hopeful cancelled EU trade reps visit will push through next year

THE European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) Southern Mindanao Business Council is optimistic that investors from European Union (EU) member states will resume interest in opportunities in the region after the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global crisis settles down. “This will hopefully start with the visit of the EU Trade Attachés to Davao in the coming year,” ECCP-Southern Mindanao Chair Antonio S. Peralta said in an email interview last week. The EU delegation was supposed to visit Davao Region last March 30. He said aggressive investment promotion efforts for Davao Region and Mindanao must continue despite the disruptions brought about by COVID-19. “Thailand and Vietnam presently continue to be aggressive in the pursuit of new business locators in their countries,” he said. Mr. Peralta noted that major EU investments were attracted last year following the Davao City Investment Conference (ICON) in June. He cited French-owned Biogrow Substrates Philippines, which is setting up a coco peat production facility in Davao del Sur. The company aims to roll out the project with the lifting of quarantine restrictions in the region. He also said a Swedish company recently bought a majority stake in a local business process outsourcing company. — Maya M. Padillo