Western Visayas

Western Visayas will not follow Cebu in dropping outdoors mask use

Marchel Espina
Western Visayas will not follow Cebu in dropping outdoors mask use

PLUGGING GAPS. Iloilo province health worker administers a COVID-19 vaccine jab. Iloilo City has recorded 15 new COVID-19 cases, the first double digit growth in months.

Iloilo provincial health office

Iloilo City reports 15 COVID-19 cases on June 12 after a few months in the single-digit range

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Negros Occidental and Iloilo City are not following Cebu province’s policy of allowing optional use of masks in open spaces.

Governor Eugenio Jose “Bong” Lacson on Sunday, June 12, said the provincial government will continue to adhere to health protocols issued by the COVID-19 Inter-agency Task Force.

“We will follow the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF). We will still continue to wear masks and adhere to some distance,” Lacson told reporters after an Independence Day speech praising health frontliners for saving countless lives.

In Iloilo City, Mayor Jerry Treñas also stressed the need to continue wearing masks, saying the city’s COVID-19 cases hit 15 on June 12 after months of remaining in the single-digit range.

The city government said there were three confirmed cases on June 10, five on June 11 and 15 on June 12, though it reported no new case for the last day.

The 15 cases were all local transmissions, with 10 of these 4th year medical students fulfilling their face-to-face class requirements, Treñas said. The city expects case numbers to rise as they are still confirming other cases and tracking close contacts of confirmed cases.

The infected individuals were fully vaccinated, half with booster shots, said Treñas

Negros Occidental on June 13 reported 26 cases and one new case. Lacson said the province’s health protocols remain the same even with seven cities and towns now under the IATF Alert Level 1.

The remainder of the Negros Occidental’s 31 LGUs remain on level 2 because of low vaccination rate.

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At his regular Monday press conference on June 13, Treñas said; “For the first time after several months, our committee has reported 15 new cases, mostly asymptomatic and vaccinated.”

“We want to send samples for genome sequencing to know what variant is spreading,” he added.

Treñas said using masks in public remains important as “our vaccination rate for minors is too low.” 

The local health department data on June 9 showed that only 21.55% of the 61,872 target for minors aged five to 11 children are fully vaccinated though the figure is a high 94.93% for older minors from 12 to 17 years old.

“As we head to face-to-face classes, I appeal for everyone to get vaccinated and boosted,” Treñas added.

On June 6, the mayor said only about 38.69% or 150,789 of the target eligible population have received booster shots in the city.

Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia made wearing masks optional in open spaces in the province via Executive Order 16, signed on Thursday, June 9.

Cebu province is still under Alert Level 2, only the second lowest quarantine status.

The Cebu  independent cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu are under Alert Level 1, the lowest quarantine, and have not yet tweaked their mask mandates. – Rappler.com