No monkeypox in Central Visayas, but Covid rising in Vismin

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NO LOCKDOWN will be implemented in the Province of Cebu amid the threat of monkeypox, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said at the start of the month-long celebration of the 453rd founding anniversary of the province of Cebu.

“Diseases are here to stay. The challenge is to boost our immune system, to ensure that we protect ourselves. But never again should there ever be a lockdown,” Garcia said Monday, August 1, 2022.

The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed on July 29 the Philippines’ first monkeypox case.

On Monday, Cebu returned to its normal way of celebrating its founding anniversary after the interruption brought by the declaration of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic in March 2020.

On the same day, the DOH Central Visayas (DOH 7) said the region remains free from monkeypox, a viral disease that has rapidly spread to more than 70 countries this year.

The DOH 7 advised the public to strictly follow the recommended preventive measures for monkeypox and Covid-19, such as physical distancing, regular hand washing with soap and water and alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and avoiding large crowds and close contact with sick persons.

The World Health Organization said most patients experience only fever, body aches, chills and fatigue, while people with more serious illness may develop a rash and lesions on the face and hands that can spread to other body parts.

The incubation period is from five days to three weeks. Most people recover in two to four weeks without needing to be hospitalized.

Monkeypox can be fatal for up to one in 10 people and is thought to be more severe in children.

Covid rising

But while the monkeypox threat in the Philippines is still low, the Covid-19 threat is increasing.

The Octa Research group monitored rising Covid-19 positivity rates in some areas in the Visayas and Mindanao, indicating an increasing transmission of the virus, Dr. Guido David said on Monday.

David said very high positivity rates were observed in Capiz, whose positivity rate went up from 30.6 percent from July 23 to 51.2 percent on July 30; Aklan, from 34.2 percent to 36.9 percent; Antique, from 22.2 percent to 28.7 percent; Bohol, from 20.5 to 28.2 percent; and Negros Oriental from 23.2 to 27.6 percent.

Positivity rate refers to the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus after getting tested for it.

In Cebu, the positivity rate went from 9.9 percent on July 23 to 12.4 percent on July 30.

Positivity rate in Davao del Sur, Iloilo, Leyte, Misamis Oriental, Negros Occidental, South Cotabato and Zamboanga del Sur is also on an uptrend.

In Luzon, as of July 29, David said, the provinces of Albay, Cagayan, Camarines Sur, Cavite, Isabela, La Union, Laguna, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Quezon, Rizal, Tarlac and Zambales also had “very high” positivity rates.

Isabela had the highest positivity rate at 36.3 percent, followed by Tarlac at 31.6 percent and Laguna with 30.9 percent.

At present, the Philippines has 33,622 active Covid-19 cases.

Despite the increase in Covid-19 cases, the utilization of hospital facilities remains low, the DOH said.

Founding anniversary

Governor Garcia, along with Vice Gov. Hilario Davide III, members of the Provincial Board and chief executives of the local government units (LGUs) of Cebu attended the flag raising ceremony to mark the start of Capitol’s month-long 453rd Founding Anniversary celebration.

“It has been three years, and it is with much joy, much gratitude that we now again celebrate the Founding Anniversary of the Province of Cebu as normal people,” Garcia said.

“If we must reclaim our lives, let us accept the fact that Covid-19, just like any other disease, is here because we are not living in a perfect world. In the same way, tuberculosis is still around, and even even polio made a reappearance. Now, (we are facing) what they call the monkeypox,” Garcia said.

“We have faced sometimes the most insurmountable obstacles, and beyond all that, we survived. We did not only survive, we prevailed and we showed the rest of the country this is the way we shall go. That is Cebu. We are Cebuanos and we are a cut above the rest,” the governor said.

Garcia urged residents to take good care of their health to avoid illness.

“Maintain hygienic habits. Bathe twice a day if possible. Wash your hands. Also maintain healthy habits. Sleep eight hours a day. Eat nutritious food. Build up your first line of defense, your immune system,” Garcia said.

Garcia has opposed lockdowns to prevent the spread of Covid-19 due to its negative effects on livelihoods and the economy.

The 453the founding anniversary of Cebu is on Saturday, Aug. 6. The month-long celebration includes the staging of the Pasigarbo sa Sugbo showcase of Cebu festivals and the Tabo sa Kapitolyo, a week-long agri-fishery trade fair featuring products from 48 LGUs in the province and 11 private exhibitors, at the Capitol grounds. (TPM, ANV, MKG, LMY, AP)

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