In Central Visayas, DOH monitors 120 arrivals from countries with Omicron | Inquirer News

In Central Visayas, DOH monitors 120 arrivals from countries with Omicron

By: - Senior Reporter / @inquirervisayas
/ 04:40 AM December 06, 2021

CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — Health officials were monitoring at least 120 persons in Central Visayas who have returned from nations with confirmed Omicron variant cases of the COVID-19 virus before the government put up some restrictions to prevent the entry of the highly transmissible strain into the country.

Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson of the Visayas Vaccination Operations Center, said among those being monitored were Filipinos from abroad who arrived in the country through Ninoy Aquino International Airport between Nov. 15 to Nov. 30 and were now in their respective hometowns in Central Visayas.


“We have to protect people from anything that can cause yet another surge in coronavirus cases,” she told the Inquirer over the phone.

According to Loreche, the 120 arrivals came from the European countries Austria, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland; and from South Africa, where the Omicron variant was first detected before it became a global concern that has now spread to more than 40 countries.


Loreche did not reveal the locations of the 120 persons being monitored. Central Visayas is composed of the provinces of Cebu, Negros Oriental, Bohol and Siquijor, and the independent cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu.

Officials of the national pandemic task force have intensified measures to stop the entry of the Omicron variant, even as health officials said it would just be a matter of time before it would be detected in the country.

Get the jab

Loreche said the Department of Health’s Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit was coordinating with the local governments and their disease surveillance officers to monitor returning Filipinos from abroad for possible symptoms of the coronavirus.

She urged the public to remain vigilant and to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to avoid contracting the virus.

Central Visayas had about 2.2 million unvaccinated individuals as of Dec. 1, out of the region’s population of 5.6 million that is eligible for inoculation.

“We really want everybody to be vaccinated as fast as we can so we can reach herd immunity,” she said.

Herd immunity happens when 70 percent of the population is immune to a specific disease.


“I also appeal to the public to continue following the minimum health standards [such as the wearing of face masks and observing physical distancing],” Loreche said.

“I heard that a number of people have started disregarding the [health] protocols. I think we need to change our behavior and mindset [if we want to prevent another surge of the virus],” she added.

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TAGS: Central Visayas COVID-19 Omicron variant, travelers from countries with Omicron
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