VVOC monitoring 120 arrivals in Central Visayas for Omicron

THE Visayas Vaccination Operations Center (VVOC) is monitoring 120 persons in Central Visayas from countries with confirmed Omicron cases who entered the country through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) from Nov. 15 to 30, 2021.

VVOC spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche said Friday these persons from the Bureau of Quarantine red list countries entered the country before the government had placed restrictions.

“There are 120 arrivals from Nov. 15 to Nov. 30, 2021 who entered NAIA with (travel) histories either from Austria, Belgium, Italy, The Netherlands, South Africa or Switzerland. (These persons) are scattered all over Region 7 after they were authorized to go home, and we will be monitoring them because accordingly, they weren’t tested upon arrival,” she said.

Loreche said these persons may have also been tested if they weren’t vaccinated or weren’t bringing negative RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test results.

“Either they were not tested upon arrival or their test results were negative, but these data were still not available,” Loreche added.

Omicron is the latest coronavirus variant to cause global concern after researchers in South Africa raised the alert on it last month because of the number of its mutations and possibility of being more transmissible than other variants of the virus.

Loreche said their Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Units had coordinated with the local government units and the disease surveillance officers on the ground to regularly check on these overseas Filipino workers or returning overseas Filipinos for any symptoms or problems.

Persons with a history of travel to South Africa must undergo a 14-day quarantine in a facility and retesting or reswabbing whether they have symptoms or no symptoms at all.

“With the current threat of another variant of concern, the Omicron, we are racing for time to achieve our herd immunity. Through vaccination and the consistency in the adherence to our minimum public health standards as well as the border control management in place, we should be better able to handle Omicron should it enter our shores,” Loreche said.

Vaccination drive

The VVOC official said Metro Cebu performed very well on the third day of the Bayanihan, Bakunahan National Covid-19 Vaccination Days, exceeding its target for daily doses on Wednesday, Dec. 1.

The VVOC said the nine local government units (LGU) under Metro Cebu administered 100,018 Covid-19 vaccine doses, or 114 percent of its 87,819 daily target. This is the highest number for the three-day national vaccination drive.

The nine LGUs administered a total of 83,460 jabs on the first day and 79,475 jabs on the second day.

These LGUs are the highly urbanized cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu; component cities of Talisay and Naga; and municipalities of Minglanilla, Consolacion, Cordova and Liloan.

Among the nine LGUs, Lapu-Lapu City achieved the highest turnout on Wednesday, after administering 16,341 vaccine jabs, or 168 percent of its targeted 9,746 jabs for the day; followed by Cebu City, 130 percent (41,901 jabs vs. 32,308 target jabs); Mandaue City, 123 percent (9,260 jabs vs. 7,504 target jabs); and Minglanilla, 122 percent (6,506 jabs vs. 5,321 target jabs).

Consolacion achieved a 102 percent turnout (6,315 jabs vs. 6,180 target); Talisay City, 91 percent (8,976 jabs vs. 9,880 target); Naga City, 86 percent (4,449 jabs vs. 5,174 target); Liloan, 54 percent (3,935 jabs vs. 7,338 target); and Cordova, 53 percent (2,335 jabs vs. 4,368 target).

On Wednesday, the National Task Force against Covid-19 extended the national vaccination days to Dec. 3. The drive had originally been scheduled to be held only from Nov. 29 – Dec. 1.

A second round of the national vaccination drive has been set for Dec. 15 to 17.