Cebu City eyes strict measures for arriving passengers from NCR

CEBU CITY — The city's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) are set to come up with measures to prevent another surge that may be caused by the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

One of the measures is to possibly implement stricter measures for passengers arriving from the National Capital Region (NCR).

Councilor Joel Garganera, head of the EOC, said the situation in NCR is concerning and something has to be done to protect the city from the Omicron variant.

New COVID-19 cases have spiked in NCR and health experts believed that the current surge was due to the more transmissible Omicron variant.

Garganera said the EOC may suggest to Mayor Michael Rama to tighten health protocols for travelers from NCR.

“EOC may recommend imposing stricter protocols. Whatever it takes to protect the Cebuanos,” Garganera told reporters on Monday, January 3.

Garganera pointed out that other local government units (LGUs) must also come up with measures to prevent the entry of Omicron variant.

“But then again, we must have a uniform protocol in order to make it effective. And that’s the task of the Mayor to engage and coordinate with other LGUs in the island,” Garganera said.

With the threat caused by Omicron, Garganera urged the public not to waste time in getting themselves vaccinated.

Emphasizing the importance of vaccination, Garganera said most of the recent COVID-19 cases involved unvaccinated individuals.

“Although it is not fatal, Omicron is more transmissible compared to the Delta variant. So it will be very hard if you are not vaccinated. According to some, especially the experts, the upcoming Omicron cases, this will be a surge of the unvaccinated,” said Garganera.

The city has already resumed its vaccination drive just days after Typhoon Odette.

As of January 2, the city only had 11 active COVID-19 cases with a positivity rate of one percent, way below the World Health Organization threshold of five percent.

The city had yet to detect an Omicron variant but Garganera advised the public not to be complacent.