BAGUIO City has issued new entry protocols and stricter measures in the city in a bid to contain the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant.
Executive Officer IV Althea Rosanna Alberto from the Office of the Mayor said that the latest protocols that the city will be observing under Executive Order 89 is an effort to preemptively curtail the spread of the Delta variant of the disease.
Under the order, effective on Friday, leisure travelers coming from areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), modified general community quarantine (GCQ), and GCQ with heightened restrictions will no longer be allowed to enter the city.
From these areas, only authorized persons outside of residence (APORs) with official business in the city can enter.
Meanwhile, people under the age of 18, or unvaccinated senior citizens entering the city must present negative reverse transcriptase – polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results.
It also restricts children aged five to 17 and senior citizens 65 years old and above, from entering indoor establishments and must utilize al fresco dining instead.
The order also stipulates that all workplaces in the city must comply with a limited workforce ranging from 50 to 75 percent of full capacity to avoid crowding.
The city now also implements a ban on the sale of alcohol from 10:00 p.m. to 10:00 a.m. and specifically disallows alcoholic beverages inside construction sites, barracks, and stay-in training centers.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong said that while the city has not registered any Delta case as per the latest report of the PGC (Philippine Genome Center), there is no assurance that it is really Delta variant-free.
“We cannot rely on the PGC report because this is not real time and therefore does not reflect the true situation because of the institution’s limitations,” he said.
He said because of PGC’s limited resources, new variant cases are being determined a month or even two months after the patient turned positive for Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and by then, many had been exposed to the patients and considering the new variant’s higher contagion rate, a lot may have already been infected even before determination by the PGC.
“It is better to assume that we already have cases so our preparations will be on target. We are preparing for a worst-case scenario,” he said.
He said that every week, the city is updating its compliance with the contingency plans to ensure that they are on track.
The plans include stockpiling on critical medicines, oxygen and apparatus for hospitals and facilities, establishment of more isolation beds in preparation for increased hospitalizations and enhancement of border control, lockdown rules, contact tracing, testing, isolation, vaccination and other Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate (PDITR) strategies.
The Delta variant is said to be more virulent than other variants so that it can cause more severe symptoms and can cause more infections.
A Delta patient can infect up to six persons while a patient with the original strain can contaminate three persons. A person with the Alpha variant can infect four persons. With reports by Aileen P. Refuerzo