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High vaccination rates, according to a DOH-7 executive, are preventing the Covid outbreak caused by variants.

CEBU CITY, Philippines – A health official said on Tuesday that aggressive inoculation of eligible populations and adherence to minimal health standards prevent the Central Visayas region from outbreaks caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) variants and sub-variants.

In a press conference at the Visayas Vaccination Operations Center (VVOC), Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH-Region 7 chief pathologist, claimed that local government units’ (LGU) efforts to inoculate their residents have paid off.

Despite the presence of “Delmicron,” a mix of the Covid-19 variants Delta and Omicron, as well as the BA.2 or the sub-variant of Omicron known as “Stealth Omicron,” she saw a slowing in Covid-19 cases.

Central Visayas has 896 active cases as of Monday, with more over half of them coming from its capital city. Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, two nearby cities, reported 33 and 25 active cases, respectively.

Cebu has 283 active cases, whereas Negros Oriental and Bohol have 43 and 14, respectively, out of the three provinces. Only eight active instances were listed on Siquijor.

“We’ve been fighting this pandemic for a long time. “However, we expect additional LGUs to be authorized to switch to Alert Level 1 as our immunization progresses,” Loreche said.

Covid-19 has already placed this city and the province of Siquijor under Alert Level 1, the most severe restriction.

Mandaue could be added to the list by next week, according to Loreche, due to its high immunization rate.

She also praised the cities of Talisay and Minglanilla, as well as the island town of Cordova, for increasing the number of immunized residents, particularly the elderly.

According to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF) rules, a locality can be allowed to transition to a lower alert level if its Covid-19 caseload is decreasing, its hospital bed vacancy rate is high, it has vaccinated 70% of its population, and has achieved 80% total coverage for senior citizens.

According to VVOC data, the nine municipalities in Metro Cebu have a total vaccination completion percentage of 71% for its older residents.

Loreche, on the other hand, has urged the city of Naga, as well as the villages of Consolacion and Liloan, to increase vaccination rates among the elderly, citing failure rates of less than 70%.

Meanwhile, the DOH-7 and the Cebu Provincial Health Office will set up vaccination stations at the North Bus Terminal in Mandaue City and the South Bus Terminal along N. Bacalso Avenue here to make Covid-19 vaccines available to tourists, according to the health official.

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