DOH warns of Covid transmission during campaign

THE Department of Health (DOH) 7 warned that the increased mobility of politicians and their supporters in the runup to the May 2022 elections could increase transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

DOH 7 Director Jaime Bernadas said they are ramping up vaccinations before the election period and political rallies would be allowed.

“Because that’s the only hope and weapon that we could have to fight this virus especially in the election period,” Bernadas said.

“We have a lot of preparations to do. We shall have to achieve more coverage because that would be a nightmare if it will be allowed,” he added.

He said they are aiming to vaccinate 70 to 85 percent of the eligible population by the end of December 2021.

“So we could cover more and avoid a more catastrophic effect of Covid-19 during that period,” he said.

Meanwhile, a show cause order directing the organizer of the Barug-PDP Laban event to explain within 72 hours the alleged violation of minimum public health standards.

Collin Rosell, third nominee of the Marino Partylist, received the order, which was issued by the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

At the City Hall, Cebu City Acting Mayor Michael Rama apologized for the lack of physical distancing during the presentation of the candidates of the Barug-PDP Laban at the Casino Español last Oct. 5.

Rama, who is the president of the PDP-Laban Cebu City chapter, said the organizer strictly implemented health protocols during the gathering, but it was hard to control the crowd.

“The organizer really had been very strict. It’s just that there was certain moment that excitement perhaps…I would like to apologize to those who may have some concerns that they thought we are insensItive. No, we are not. I have never been insensitive and I’d always been very deliberative, very strict in telling them,” Rama said.

Rama is running for mayor, with Councilor Raymond Garcia as runningmate.

Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of the EOC, was unable to attend the event. He is seeking reelection as part of Rama’s slate.

“I know that the election season is coming and I know there will once again be divisions between the voters and political parties. However, I will remain firm in my commitment that addressing the immediate needs of this city and fighting against this pandemic will remain my top priority,” Garganera said.

Violators of health protocols may be sent to jail for a year or meted a fine of P5,000 under City Ordinance No. 2624. (JOB, PAC)