Briones: Focus shift

·2 min read

The recent announcement by the national government that fully vaccinated individuals will no longer have to present a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results should entice more people to get the jab against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

I think the operative word here is “should.”

According to Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque Jr., “presentation of a Covid-19 domestic vaccination card issued by a legitimate vaccinating establishment, or certificate of quarantine completion showing the holder’s vaccination status as may be issued by the Bureau of Quarantine will be ‘sufficient alternatives to any testing requirement’ (before travel or upon arrival) which the LGU (local government unit) of destination may require.”

But then, he goes on to say that travelers “are still subject to the health and exposure screening implemented by the receiving LGU upon arrival.”

In other words, if the LGU of destination requires a RT-PCR test then the traveler must still present one.

Did I understand that correctly?

Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera said that for uniformity, various agencies in Cebu and officials of the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu will have to sit down and discuss the guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on Wednesday, July 7, 2021.

I know Cebu Province still requires residents from Negros and Bohol to present a negative RT-PCR test. The Capitol limited entry of travelers from these two provinces after they experienced a rise in coronavirus cases. However, the governor’s executive order did state that the order was valid only until July 24.

At any rate, the IATF should come up with additional “perks” for fully vaccinated individuals to address vaccine hesitancy.

It still boggles the mind that many people complain about the inconveniences brought about the restrictions that are in place to prevent the spread of the virus. And yet, they refuse to get inoculated.

Don’t they know that the vaccine is the key to ending this pandemic?

And please, don’t give me this vaccinated-people-still-get-infected whine because it only shows that many out there have not been properly informed.

According to an article published by nature.com in February, “it’s possible that vaccines won’t stop or significantly lessen the chances of infection. But jabs might make infected people less able to pass the virus on, or make them less infectious and so reduce transmission.”

Still, it’s nice to see the IATF take a step in the right direction. I have a feeling that meeting members of the Cebu Provincial Board and the governor may have made it realize that it doesn’t have to be so paranoid about Covid.

In fact, it should focus on disseminating information about the vaccine to debunk myths that many members of the public have swallowed hook, line and sinker.

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