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Bacolod beefs up efforts against new Covid strain

BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III

With the spread of the new coronavirus strain reported in various countries, the Bacolod Emergency Operations Center is beefing up efforts to contain the possible entry of the variant into the city.

However, Dr. Chris Sorongon, EOC deputy for medical, said their efforts will be futile if residents continue to disregard the minimum health protocols.

If this continues, the possibility of the new strain of Covid-19 entering Bacolod will not be remote, he said.

As of now, the Office of Councilor Israel Salanga, who is in charge of the returning overseas Filipino workers to Bacolod, has been doubly strict in screening those entering the city from abroad.

Salanga said the minimum number of returning OFWs in Bacolod daily is 30, while the total number of repatriated foreign workers is already 5,700, since April.

Reports earlier disclosed that the newly discovered strain from the United Kingdom has a potential to transmit rapidly compared to the current dominant strain of the virus and has allegedly triggered 60 percent new infections in London alone.

The EOC is prepared in case the new strain reaches Bacolod, hence, the monitoring, especially in seaports and at the airport has been intensified, Sorongon said.

47 BARANGAYS COVID-FREE

The EOC has also conducted a series of meetings with various sectors, especially mall managers and operators of other business establishments, about the strict enforcement on the ban of minors aged 15 and below, and those 66 years old and above in public places, Sorongon added.

He said their relentless campaign resulted in the reduction of active cases, with 47 barangays already declared Covid-free and with no hotspot areas identified.

Records show the number of active cases in Bacolod only at 43, although the figure of the Department of Health in Region 6 is different since they are still validating the data forwarded to them by the EOC.

Sorongon predicts that by the end of the week, the active cases in Bacolod will be reduced to 20 especially with the ongoing moratoriums on the ROFs and locally stranded individuals.

The barangays still with cases are Estefania, Singcang, Mansilingan, Alijis, Mandalagan, Taculing, Granada, Tangub, Brgy. 6, Bata, Banago, Handumanan, Brgy. 30, and Montevista.

The EOC is also closely monitoring and coordinating with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in barangays Taculing and Handumanan to ensure that no additional persons deprived of liberty are infected with Covid.

Sorongon said that, to date, there are three inmates who contracted the disease and are now in isolation. He said the BJMP enforces minimum health protocols, such as surveillance testing, before taking in new inmates.*

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