Lapu, Mandaue respond to Omicron subvariant threat

·2 min read

LAPU-LAPU City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan will not require travelers from Western Visayas to present a negative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) or rapid antigen test result to enter the city amid the local transmission of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 that was detected in that region.

Chan said they do not want to cause hassle to the travelers, particularly tourists who will enter the city through the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

Chan reiterated the need to balance saving lives and the economy, which has just started to recover amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

“For me, it’s not needed. Most important are just the social distancing, wearing of face masks and proper hand washing. That’s all. We need local tourists to come to our city,” said Chan.

Last Tuesday, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the local transmission of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 in Western Visayas, the National Capital Region and Puerto Princesa City after the number of cases of the subvariant in the country hit 17.

Chan believes that the people have already been educated about the virus, as he also expressed hope that the symptoms of the subvariant would only be mild.

Chan further said the public might have already gained immunity from the virus, citing the crowds that gathered during the campaign period for the May 9, 2022 elections that did not cause a surge in cases.

The city had only six Covid-19 active cases as of Tuesday, May 17, of whom three were in hospitals and the rest in home isolation.

In Mandaue City, the local government has started the emergency repair of government structures, including the isolation facility in Norkis park in Barangay Looc, that were struck by Typhoon Odette (Rai) in December 2021.

John Eddu Ibañez, executive secretary of Mayor Jonas Cortes, said this is in preparation for the possible entry of new variants in Cebu, including the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1.

Ibañez said Mandaue City had few active infections despite recent events like the campaign sorties.

Ibañez said they had temporarily transferred the Covid-19 patients at the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority building located on P.J. Burgos Street.

But he said the isolation facility at the old North Bus Terminal in Barangay Subangdaku is still operational, as well as the free swab testing in the area.

While the city is already under Alert Level 1 status, the most relaxed status, Ibañez reiterated the call for the constituents to get vaccinated against Covid-19 amid the emergence of new variants.

He said the DOH studies showed that the unvaccinated were those who came down with severe cases, while the vaccinated had mild or no symptoms at all.

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