Former Bohol Medical Society (BMS) president Dr. Jefferson Ong has expressed support for calls to reimpose the requirement of COVID-19 testing of all persons entering Bohol, particularly those from areas with high cases of the disease including Metro Manila where a resurgence of infections has been detected.
“I would agree na bisan og kanang vaccinated. Coming from an area of high prevalence, and knowing na kaning omicron [variant] mo takod gihapon ni bisan og sa mga vaccinated, so I think ang prudent thing na buhaton para sa safety sa atong mga taw diri is really to get a negative PCR test before makasud diri sa ato,” said Ong in an interview over station dyRD on Thursday.
While Bohol’s number of active COVID-19 cases remained at 35 as of Thursdays, the rest of the Philippines has recorded 45,730 new cases from January 1 to January 6.
Ong admitted that it would be impossible for the province to block the entry of new cases, including hat of the more transmissible Omicron variant, from other localities but noted that stricter border control measures would slow down the transmission.
”Mo dugang lang ta og layer of protection para sa atong katawhan. Di man ta ga deny completely ana, eventually makasud man gyud ni siya, we already know that na dili gyud ka pugong totally, pero as much as possible hinay ang iyang pagsulod aron dali lang nato ma-trace,” said Ong.
Ong aired his statement five days after Governor Art Yap issued Executive Order No. 1 on January 1 extending a previous directive which only requires a vaccination card or certificate from fully inoculated individuals entering the province and suspends the S-Pass requirement.
According to Ong, authorities should not be complacent by maintaining sufficient health protocols to prevent the rise in severe cases of COVID-19 which could overwhelm the province’s limited hospital capacity.
“Ang atoang danger ani is kung atoang mga kaso sa severe cases taas kaayo , to the point na mapuno ang atong mga hospital kay not only COVID ang atoang gibantayan na mga sakit, like dengue which is far more deadly,” said Ong.
Ong noted that while fully vaccinated persons are less likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19, there are still a significant number of people who remain unvaccinated who are more vulnerable to severe cases of the disease.
As of December 14, 2021, Bohol has fully vaccinated 402,714 individuals out of the province’s total population of 1.4 million. (R. Tutas)