“Let us strengthen our border protection because COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise,” former Rep. Alfredo Albee Benitez said Monday, January 17.
The Department of Health in Western Visayas has classified Negros Occidental and Bacolod City as high risk areas for COVID-19 under Alert Level 3 in a report released Monday.
The Negros Occidental two week growth in COVID-19 cases was by 1,228 percent and Bacolod City’s was 589 percent, the DOH said.
There were 193 new COVID-19 cases in Negros Occidental and 187 in Bacolod City, the DOH reported on Monday.
It said Negros Occidental had 1,365 active COVID-19 cases and Bacolod City had 917, the DOH added.
Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said the increase in COVID-19 cases may be because there is already local transmission of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
Lacson said he is reminding local government officials to enforce the rule for minors below 17 years old and senior citizens to stay home.
Benitez, Negros Occidental consultant on economic affairs and Bacolod mayoral candidate, said there is a need to strengthen border protection against COVID-19.
“Let’s make sure we create a bubble” in Negros Occidental and Bacolod by ensuring that all those entering are properly screened against COVID-19, he said.
Benitez stressed the need for an increase in contact tracing, testing and isolation of possible patients.
“Let us try to avoid lockdowns and restricting mobility to ensure that the local businesses continue to function,” he added.
On the call of fast craft operators to exempt fully vaccinated travelers from availing of negative RT-PCR test results, Benitez said the provincial government has no jurisdiction over the seaports in Bacolod City.*