ILOILO City – This southern city is not implementing a lockdown, Mayor Jerry Treñas clarified, addressing speculations on social media as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections rise. Iloilo must revive its economy reeling from the adverse effects of pandemic restrictions these past two years, he stressed.
How will the city government address rising COVID-19 cases without imposing a lockdown?
Businesses will remain open but at reduced capacities, said Treñas.
“Jobs must be made available. We only need to be vaccinated and be boosted. Minimum health protocols must be strictly observed,” the city mayor stressed.
Data from the Iloilo City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit showed all the new 46 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported on Jan. 7 were vaccinated against the disease.
Health experts call this infection of fully vaccinated persons as “breakthrough cases”.
On Jan. 8, fresh data also showed that most of the 58 more new infections were vaccinated, too, against the coronavirus.
Iloilo City is now under pandemic Alert Level 3 until Jan. 15 as ordered by the National Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) due to surging infections and the threat of the more transmissible Omicron variant of the virus causing COVID-19.
Treñas believed the rise in infections – breakthrough cases or not – may be due to Omicron.
The city recorded its first Omicron variant case last week – a 46-year-old seafarer from Arevalo district who returned to the city on last Dec. 24, 2021 from Kenya.
Treñas emphasized the importance of vaccination and booster shots to be protected from severe COVID-19 which most of the time requires hospitalization.
The vaccination could also ensure that the economy keeps going. Under Alert Level 3, establishments with 100 percent of its personnel and staff reporting on-site (and are fully vaccinated and with Safety Seal Certification) are allowed 50 percent indoor dining capacity and 70 percent al fresco dining.
Establishments with Safety Seal only are allowed (40 percent indoor dining) and 60 percent alfresco dining.
Establishments whose personnel and staff reporting on site are 100 percent fully vaccinated but without Safety Seal are allowed 40 percent indoor dining and 50 percent al fesco dining.
Establishments without Safety Seal and whose personnel and staff reporting on site are not fully vaccinated are allowed 10 indoor dining and 30 percent al fresco dining.
Meanwhile, the following establishments, or activities, are allowed at a maximum of 30 percent indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 50 percent outdoor venue capacity:
* Visitor or tourist attractions such as libraries, archives, museums, galleries, parks, plazas, public gardens, scenic viewpoints or overlooks, and the like;
* Recreational venues such as internet cafes, billiard halls, amusement arcades, bowling alleys, skating rinks, archery halls, swimming pools, and similar venues;
* Cinemas and movie houses,
* Limited face-to-face or in-person classes for basic education
* Limited face-to-face or in-person classes for higher education and for technical-vocational education and training;
* Licensure or entrance/qualifying examinations
* Dine-in services of food preparation establishments such as kiosks, commissaries, restaurants, and eateries
* Personal care establishments such as barbershops, hair spas, hair salons, and nail spas
* Fitness studios, gyms, and venues for individual non-contact exercise;
* Film, music, and television production
On the other hand, establishments and activities prohibited are face-to-face classes except those previously approved by the IATF or Office of the President, contact and non-contact sports; kid amusement industries, karaoke bars, KTV establishments, discotheque, concert halls and theaters, casinos, horse racing, cockfighting, lottery, and betting shops, and other gaming establishments; and gatherings not belonging to the same household./PN