Negros Occidental and Oriental, and Bacolod City will remain under Alert Level 2 from December 1 to 15, Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases spokesperson Karlo Nograles announced Monday, November 29.
The rest of Western Visayas will also remain under Alert Level 2.
The threat of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant, although it has not been detected in the Philippines yet, was taken into account in determining the alert levels, Nograles, who is also acting presidential spokesman, said.
The Omicron variant poses a “very high” risk globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned Monday.
“If another major surge of Covid-19 takes place driven by Omicron, consequences may be severe,” WHO said.
“Increasing cases, regardless of a change in severity, may pose overwhelming demands on health care systems and may lead to increased morbidity and mortality,” it added.
Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson Monday morning said he prefers that Negros Occidental remains under Alert Level 2 to ensure that crowds at public venues can be limited.
“Under Alert Level 2 people are already allowed outside their homes so I think we will already have a merrier Christmas,” Lacson said.
“As we are enjoying more this Christmas let’s continue to be vigilant and protect ourselves,” he said.
Lacson said although the Omicron variant has not been detected in the Philippines yet, it is expected to eventually hit the country, too, so it is better to be careful now.
It is important that travelers entering the province are screened because COVID-19 still remains a threat, he said.*