Inclusion of vaccine perks mulled for bars, travels
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is mulling expanding the perks for vaccinated individuals when the city’s status is downgraded to a Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).
Councilor Joel Garganera, the EOC deputy chief implementor, said they are consulting with the business sector, police, and health experts on certain possibilities.
Primarily, they have officially recommended that saliva testing be allowed for incoming passengers of domestic travels.
“We want any test that is reliable nga dili mahal. Of course, nagconsult pud ta sa atong health authorities,” said Garganera.
The current policy only allows real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results within 72 hours or antigen test results within 48 hours from departure to enter Cebu City through the ports.
For the councilor, adding a saliva test to the options may give the passenger a cheaper way to meet the requirements.
Furthermore, the EOC plans to recommend that fully vaccinated individuals may present their vaccine cards during their entry to Cebu City ports in lieu of the tests.
However, this is still being consulted with health experts for the viability of such a policy.
Garganera said that the city has to plan the MGCQ as more establishments reopen and more movement of people is expected.
They expect a downgrade of the quarantine restrictions because of the significant drop in active cases and hospital admissions.
Bars are one of the most likely places for violating health protocols and the EOC said the reopening must be planned accordingly.
The EOC is mulling to lift the liquor ban and allow bars to serve only vaccinated individuals with a minimum set capacity.
This would reduce the number of people frequenting bars, thereby also reducing the chances of transmission in these high-risk areas.
“Of course we need to consult the health experts but we are looking into it,” he said.
Garganera reminds the public that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over and the best way to combat it is to get vaccinated.
He notes that the majority of the deaths are unvaccinated individuals, while vaccinated individuals who died were most likely incidental COVID-19 deaths, which means they died of other diseases.
“Magpabakuna ta ug dili ta mamili og bakuna,” he added. /rcg
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