ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY, Philippines – Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco on Wednesday, January 5, urged residents to maintain a “family bubble” as the city braces for the COVID-19 Omicron variant threat.
Climaco ordered the city’s security forces “to remind our children, our families to maintain the family bubble.”
“Bubble” is a term used to describe a cluster of people who are comfortable spending their time with each other.
Climaco said she was not taking the situation lightly amid the Omicron threat even as the city government has fully vaccinated some 71% of the target eligible population of 694,696, and 87% got their first doses.
The City Health Office has administered a total of 1,098,582 COVID-19 vaccine doses as of Tuesday, January 4.
Climaco stressed the importance of not letting down the guard against COVID-19, saying people from neighboring areas frequently go to the city.
“We have to heighten the implementation of the minimum health protocols, and it has to go down to our barangay health emergency response teams, including our barangay information officers,” Climaco said.
Zamboanga City, which is under Alert Level 2 until January 15, has 90 active cases, down from almost 2,000 a couple of months ago. The city has not recorded any Omicron variant infection so far.
Strict implementation of health protocols and ramped-up vaccination drives have helped curb the number of COVID-19 cases in the city, officials said.
Dr. Dulce Miravite, city health officer, called for strengthened border controls.
In a virtual presser on Monday, January 3, Miravite said the city has to strictly enforce the minimum public health standards with or without the threat of newer COVID-19 variants.
The call to strengthen border controls has sent jitters to residents in nearby provinces such as Zamboanga Sibugay.
For instance, Kabasalan town agriculture officer Miladel Capitania hastened the processing of the beneficiaries for the local government’s coconut dispersal program with the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).
The coconuts will be sourced in the PCA Research Station in San Ramon, Zamboanga City.
She called on the program beneficiaries to double down, worrying that Zamboanga City might implement stricter measures in their border with Zamboanga Sibugay again. –Rappler.com
Antonio Manaytay is a a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship