BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The highly-urbanized city of Bacolod remains under COVID-19 Alert Level 1 from May 1 to May 15, along with Candoni town in Negros Occidental, Malacañang announced yesterday.
Presidential Communications and Acting Presidential Spokesperson Sec. Martin Andanar said in a statement that Bacolod, together with Aklan, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo Province and Iloilo City are placed under AL1 during the said period.
Also included under AL1 status are Siquijor, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City and Mandaue City; Biliran, Eastern Samar, Southern Leyte, Ormoc City and Tacloban City; Tobias Fornier (Dao), Antique; Amlan (Ayuquitan), Negros Oriental and Duero, Bohol; Matalom and Leyte.
Six other towns and cities in Negros Occidental have been placed under Alert Level 1 for the period of April 15 to April 30, based on the executive order issued by Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson.
As approved by the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, both Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental will remain under Alert Level 2, without prejudice to their respective component cities and municipalities which may be under a different alert level classification, in the same period.
Under Alert Level 1, the IATF said there are no restrictions in terms of indoor and outdoor capacities. Everyone can undertake intrazonal and interzonal travel without regard to age and even comorbidities.
All establishments, persons, or activities are likewise allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken at total on-site or venue seating capacity, provided these are consistent with minimum public health standards.
Meanwhile, face-to-face classes for primary education shall be subject to prior approval of the Office of the President.
As of April 28, the Provincial Incident Management Team reported that Negros Occidental has 11 active cases.
On the other hand, the Provincial Health Office (PHO) in Negros Occidental is on alert after the country reported detection of its first Omicron BA.2.12 subvariant of COVID-19 on April 27.
Just like the original BA.1 Omicron variant, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Ernell Tumimbang said that it is also highly infectious, although evidence suggests symptoms are less severe compared to the Delta variant of COVID-19.
At present, Tumimbang said that they are following the advice and mandates coming from the Department of Health central office, especially on what to do once a new variant enters the province.*c