Garganera: Cebu City must take steps to prevent entry of Omicron variant

·3 min read

CEBU City Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), will meet with Mayor Michael Rama to discuss measures regarding the threat of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Garganera said he is concerned about developments in the National Capital Region (NCR), which will be placed under Alert Level 3 starting Monday, Jan. 3, 2021.

Based on the government’s alert system, Alert Level 3 will be raised in areas where Covid-19 cases are high or increasing and where there is an increasing utilization of hospital beds and Intensive Care Unit beds.

Garganera said Cebu City must take steps to prevent the entry of the highly contagious variant of Covid-19 into Cebu. There is no reported case yet of Omicron variant in the city and province.

He will discuss with Rama the measures that will be implemented for travelers from areas under Alert Level 3.

The Department of Health (DOH) has announced that there are 10 new cases of Omicron variant monitored by the University of the Philippines (UP)-Philippine Genome Center and UP-National Institute of Health.

Of the 10 new cases of Omicron variant, seven were imported cases (travelers from abroad) while three were local cases.

Of the seven cases, one of them was the husband of the woman, who was the fourth case of the Omicron variant.

The new cases have brought the total cases of Omicron variant in the Philippines to 14.

“We can’t afford a fourth surge, we really can’t. I will sit down with the mayor re: travelers from areas under level 3,” Garganera said in a text message to Superbalita Cebu on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022.

Difficult to quarantine

Garganera said it is difficult to quarantine travelers, especially the overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and returning overseas Filipinos (ROF), because residents in Cebu City rented hotel rooms after Typhoon Odette (Rai), which caused a widespread blackout in Cebu after it hit the province on the evening of Dec. 16, 2021.

The councilor said the hotels were fully booked because Cebuanos who can afford to pay looked for a better place to stay with water supply.

According to Garganera, Cebu was lucky that Typhoon Odette hit when active Covid-19 cases were very low.

He is hoping that linemen who helped restore electricity supply throughout Cebu will speed up their work.

Garganera said he will also tell Cebu City Police Office Director Colonel Josefino Ligan to strictly enforce health protocols after he noted that many people are already reluctant to wear a face mask after the typhoon.

Local transmission

Two of the three local Omicron cases were from the Bicol Region while the other was from the National Capital Region (NCR), a 42 -year-old man who tested positive on December 3 and was said to have recovered on December 17.

Two cases in the Bicol Region have also recovered from the disease.

The DOH said that while clear data is still needed, there is a high possibility of local transmission of the Omicron variant.

The Omicron variant is more contagious than the Delta variant.

Countries in Europe, Americas, Africa and East Asia have seen a surge in their Covid-19 cases because of the transmission of the Omicron variant.

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