NEGROS Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said Sunday, May 29, 2022, that he may request a deescalation of the alert level status of the province after the conduct of the month-long provincial vaccination drive against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in June this year.

Negros Occidentl currently remained at Alert Level 2 with only the cities of La Carlota, Sagay and Victorias, and towns of EB Magalona, San Enrique, Candoni and Pulupandan under Alert Level 1 from June 1 to 15, 2022.

The highly urbanized Bacolod City is also under Alert Level 1 for the same period.

Lacson, however, stressed that the deescalation of the province’s alert level status depends on "when our vaccination status improves."

As of May 28, the province had 35 active cases of Covid-19 if based on the records of the Provincial Health Office.

The Department of Health in Western Visayas reported that the active Covid-19 cases in Negros Occidental were still at 119.

Asked if the recent increase of Covid-19 cases in Negros Occidental will affect its alert level status, the governor said it was only on June 25 that the province had 19 new cases.

“Since then, it has gone down to one to three new cases a day (and) I expect these 19 cases to get well soon," Lacson said, adding that he will request from the Inter-Agency Task Force a deescalation after June.

The Provincial Government of Negros Occidental set a province-wide vaccination program in June on Thursdays and Fridays every week, and on Monday and Tuesday during the last week of the month.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Ernell Tumimbang said health experts warned of an uptick in Covid-19 cases in the country, as high as 500 cases per day, in areas with low vaccination coverage.

Tumimbang said the existence of Omicron subvariant in Iloilo is a “cause of concern” as it is near Negros Occidental.

He noted that the province has already opened its borders, with fewer restrictions on incoming travelers.

“While we cannot close our borders, there is a need to closely monitor those entering the province from Iloilo, especially those arriving at the Bacolod City ports,” he said.

Tumimbang also said there is a need to lower the alert level of other local government units (LGUs) so that the whole Negros Occidental will also be placed under Alert Level 1.

The Covid-19 pandemic is not yet over, he said.

He said people have already been complacent due to dwindling cases in the past few weeks, and that there is no imminent threat.

The proposed province-wide vaccination will cater to those who have yet to be vaccinated, as well as those to receive second doses and booster shots, the provincial health officer added.