Batanes sees end of COVID surge as infections wane
ITBAYAT, BATANES — Batanes registered no new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and only one case on Thursday as infections continued to drop in the island province, data from the local pandemic response task force showed.
Since recording its first community transmission on Sept. 16, the province’s active cases fell to its lowest on Thursday after 19 more recoveries brought down its active infections to only 60.
The capital town of Basco still has the highest number of active cases at 42. The other towns with active infections are Sabtang with eight; Ivana, five; Mahatao, three; and Itbayat and Uyugan with one each.
It was on Oct. 6 when the number of daily active cases in the province peaked at 574 but dropped to single-digit new cases starting Oct. 15.
So far, the province had already recorded 847 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic struck last year. At least 782 of these had recovered from the viral disease while five had died.
Most of these cases were registered since Sept. 20 when the province posted 100 new infections, its highest single-day tally. Batanes was largely spared by the pandemic when it registered only four cases in 2020 and 14 infections in the early part of this year before the sudden increase in September.
The surge in cases was attributed to the impact of Typhoon “Kiko” (international name: Chanthu) that hit the province on Sept. 11 and damaged local water sources.
Residents were seen gathering outdoors in the aftermath of the typhoon to fetch water, which could have caused the virus to spread, local health authorities said.
‘Altar for the dead’
As a precaution against another infection surge, the provincial government has also ordered the closure of all cemeteries during the observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2.
But parish churches have been allowed to set up within their premises an alternative venue or “altar for the dead” where residents can offer candles, flowers, and prayers for their departed kin. But parishioners were reminded to strictly comply with minimum health protocols, such as the wearing of face masks and observing physical distancing rules.
While COVID-19 cases continued to drop, local officials have yet to discuss if the restrictions on leisure travel to the province would be eased.
As of Oct. 18, about 75 percent or 9,506 eligible residents in Batanes had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. —NATHAN ALCANTARA
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.