Negros under AL2 until March 31, DOH cites low vax rate for seniors

Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson on Tuesday, March 15, extended the Alert Level 2 status of Negros Occidental until March 31.

Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said Negros Occidental remains under Alert Level 2 despite the drop in its COVID-19 cases because of its low vaccination rate for senior citizens.

One of the reasons Negros Occidental was not deescalated to Alert Level 1 was because there is a vulnerable sector consisting of senior citizens that are not considered by the Department of Health (DOH) to be protected, he said.

If not enough senior citizens are vaccinated it may take some time before Negros Occidental’s Alert Level 2 status will be lowered, Diaz said.

Negros Occidental has only vaccinated 55.28 percent of its target A2 or senior citizen population, and 58.59 percent of its overall target population, the DOH reported on Monday.

There also was also a low turnout of vaccinees during the 4th National Vaccination Days prompting the provincial government to launch a house-to-house vaccination drive, he said.

The Negros Occidental provincial government is coming up with more incentives for the senior citizens to get vaccinated, one of which is providing two Negros Occidental Comprehensive Health Program cards to elderly couples instead of only one, Diaz said.

That means they will be able to avail of P10,000 instead of only P5,000 in health assistance, he explained.

Diaz said he has directed to Provincial Health Office to prepare the master lists of the senior citizens to be covered.

Negros Occidental had five new COVID-19 cases for a total of 67 active cases, and one death, on Tuesday, the Provincial Incident Management Team reported.

The governor, in Executive Order No. 22-11, Series of 2022 issued Tuesday, said travelers to Negros Occidental will still be required to present an approved Safe, Swift, and Smart Passage (S-PaSS) travel coordination permit.

The province of Negros Occidental will be classified as unrestricted in the S-PaSS Travel Management System.

Those who are fully vaccinated will be required to present proof of vaccination, while arriving unvaccinated and partially unvaccinated passengers at the airport and seaports will be subjected to free Rapid Antigen Tests.

Non-reactive Rapid Antigen Test results taken 48 hour prior to travel by a DOH accredited clinic or laboratory will also be accepted.

There will be three Manila-Bacolod-Manila flights a day for Philippines Airlines and Cebu Pacific and two for Air Asia that will be allowed.

Airline companies can also avail one additional inbound Manila-Bacolod cargo only flight and one additional outbound Bacolod-Manila passenger flight.

For the Cebu-Bacolod-Cebu route three flights per week will be allowed for Philippine Airlines and four per week for Cebu Pacific.

Sea vessels will be allowed to admit passengers up to 50 percent of their passenger capacity.

All limited operation establishments will be allowed up to 70 percent of outdoor venue capacity to cater to individuals regardless of vaccination status, and indoor venue capacity will be limited to 50 percent for fully vaccinated individuals only.

Indoor venue capacity for those who cater to unvaccinated and partially vaccinated will be 30 percent.

Curfew will also remain, the governor said.*

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