League of Provinces of the Philippines President and Marinduque Governor Presbitero Velasco Jr. said Saturday that he believes the Omicron coronavirus variant is now causing the spike in COVID-19 cases in the provinces.
At a Laging Handa briefing, Velasco said that in the past few days, the LPP has observed the fast increase in the number of cases.
He said the sharp increase in transmissions has been felt in different provinces like never before, and that Omicron must likely be responsible for it.
"Ngayon lang namin nakita itong ganito kabilis na hawahan (infection rates have surged like never before). So we can safely assume na Omicron variant na po yan (this must be the Omicron)."
Based on news reports, and the information we gathered so far, only a few provinces have not reported sharp infection surges, he added.
For instance, in Marinduque, the daily numbers suddenly spiked to 62 of late, when we had zero during Christmas. Then cases started go up to 11, and then the number soared, he said in Filipino.
"Mild po lamang ang karamihan ng mga infection" (most of the new cases are mild), he said.
Medyo naghigpit po tayo sa mga entry ng mga non-residents at lalo na yung galing sa mga area under Alert Level 3. So nagre-require na po tayo ng negative RT-PCR test, at antigen test result bago makapasok ang mga bisita.
(We have tightened our rules for entry of non-residents especially those coming from Alert Level 3 areas. We also require negative RT-PCR and antigen test results.)
Earlier, Velasco said the several governors have already imposed "no vax, no entry" policy following the recent surges in the number of COVID-19 cases.
Moreover he said the local governments, especially the barangays, have tightened their monitoring of cases of those subjected to home quarantine, and make sure the stay in the house.
"So, talagang monitoring at sinasabi po namin na talagang mag-inspect na rin po sa mga bahay-bahay na nasakanilang territoryo" (House to house monitoring and inspection is needed), he said.
Generally, the LPP backs the order to limit the mobility of residents, especially the unvaccinated. But local governments need to pass ordinances, he pointed out, as freedom of movement is enshrined in our Constitution.
"Yun naman po yung ating movements o mobility ay nakapaloob po yan sa ating Constitutional right to travel or freedom of movement pero may mga exception na man po yun, yung public health or public safety," he pointed out.
Moreover, he said that because of the restrictions on the unvaccinated, more and more people have been encouraged to get the vaccine against COVID-19. —LBG, GMA News