Cebu City Courts Closed As Witness Tests Positive For COVID-19

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All courts in this city are physically closed for two days this week to give way for the disinfection and containment measures after a witness who appeared in a Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

RTC Executive Branch Macaundas Hadjirasul issued a statement via social media Sunday night saying the Cebu City Hall of Justice (CCHJ) “will be on lockdown on September 28 and 29” for massive decontamination.

Hadjirasul said court employees would work from home but litigants and lawyers can still contact them through online and hotline numbers.

“We’ll have the whole CCHJ disinfected because a witness who came to one of our branches turned out (to be) Covid-19 positive,” Hadjirasul said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

He said the witness, a law enforcer, went to a branch of the Regional Trial Court at Qimonda Building where the CCHJ is located to testify.
The hearings of cases were then postponed.

“We were informed by government contact tracers last Friday afternoon that his swab test, which was earlier taken, yielded positive result for Covid-19,” Hadjirasul said.

The court administration conducted contact tracing and identified individuals “whom he had in contact with” in the RTC, he added.

Last August, Hadjirasul issued a memorandum requiring lawyers and litigants to use hotlines and emails in transacting with the local courts when the capital city was placed under general community quarantine and each calendared case was allotted with a specific time for the hearing with only the counsel, parties, and the witness allowed entry in the court.

He also imposed minimum health standards such as mandatory wearing of face mask and face shield and physical distancing. (PNA)

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