Garcia: Prepare for ‘Omicron’

·4 min read

CEBU Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia has urged officials in the province to prepare their respective towns and cities in the event the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 reaches Cebu Island.

Garcia asked local chief executives to ensure the enforcement of health protocols and encourage constituents to strengthen their immune system.

Garcia met with local officials on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, at the Provincial Capitol.

Garcia said while Cebu is still facing the challenge of recovering from the devastation of Typhoon Odette (Rai), it cannot be compounded with the challenge of the highly contagious virus.

The governor ordered all the mayors in the province to implement all measures to prevent the spread of the virus in their localities.

“You know that the Omicron virus is fast approaching. It’s only a matter of time. Although data shows that this is more infectious, more contagious, but less deadly, but still it’s there and we cannot be dealing with both (Odette devastation and Omicron) at the same time... Please institute all safety protocols that we have... You know the drill. You already know the drill,” Garcia said.


Garcia said the province has started stocking up on supplies such as oxygen tanks and medicines needed by provincial and district hospitals.

“We are already stocking all of our hospitals with this new drug against Covid, but we have included a high dosage of vitamin C, intravenous for the hospitals and vitamins will also be distributed to all our frontliners,” Garcia said.

Garcia also ordered the setting up again of the mini store at the Capitol that sells cheap vitamin C and other supplements necessary for strengthening the immune system.

“Let’s all be vigilant, and we will manage this,” Garcia assured.

On Jan. 7, 2022, the Department of Health (DOH) 7 reported that Cebu Province had 20 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total number of active cases to 243.

Cebu Province does not include the tri-cities of Cebu.

One Island

Meanwhile, the tri-cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu and the Cebu Provincial Government have yet to come up with a One Cebu Island policy to address the threat of the Omicron variant on the entire island.

“It’s very difficult if we set up border patrols like checkpoints. It will only create chaos and traffic. For me it’s useless,” Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

Cortes met with Garcia, Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (Opav) Secretary Michael Dino, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, and a representative of Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan on Thursday, Jan. 6.

Cortes said they are eyeing a One Island policy where there are no borders as these will only create chaos and traffic congestion.

The mayor said police personnel may be mobilized to enforce the health protocols.

Cortes said the meeting was held to consult local government units (LGUs) such as Mandaue City, which is a gateway to other parts of the province, before an executive order can be issued.

Cortes said if Mandaue City enforces restrictions such as border control, this will not only affect Metro Cebu but the whole economy of Visayas, citing the food chain as one of their concerns.

Logistics will be affected, particularly the distribution of food supply as Mandaue City has a strong manufacturing sector, Cortes pointed out.

Cortes said Mandaue City intends to prepare for the Omicron variant by empowering and strengthening barangay health centers.

Move on

He urged everyone to move on and not to get paranoid as the Omicron variant is believed to be not as fatal as other variants such as Delta although it is highly transmissible.

“My marching order to residents is to move on so that we can all rise up,” he said as he also urged them to cooperate and follow the minimum health protocols.

Cortes also urged everyone not to get paranoid should they manifest Covid-19 symptoms and instead prepare for medicines such as paracetamol.

On Jan. 7, the DOH 7 reported that Mandaue City recorded 18 new cases of Covid-19, bringing active cases to 50.

The mayor urged everyone to refrain from sowing fear to the public amid the several pressing issues that Cebu has to address.(MKG)

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