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Capitol issues face mask guidelines

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

As COVID-19 cases in Negros Occidental nears triple digits, the provincial government has issued guidelines for the voluntary wearing of face masks in the province.

In executive order No. 23-15, series of 2023, Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said that the wearing of face masks in indoor and outdoor settings are encouraged, especially for the elderly, individuals with comorbidities, immunocompromised persons, pregnant women, unvaccinated, and symptomatic individuals.

As of May 8, Negros Occidental logged 95 active COVID-19 cases, with deaths remaining at nine, excluding cases in highly urbanized Bacolod City.

Lacson also said that wearing of face masks is mandatory in health care facilities, enclosed areas and public transportations, either by sea, land or air, except for tricycles and non-air conditioned PUVs.

In a press briefing, Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito yesterday said that the restoration of community quarantines and lockdowns are no longer necessary amid the spike in COVID-19 cases all over the country.

 Ejercito said most of these cases are mild and people are already aware of the basic health protocols.

However, he clarified that the government still needs to allocate budget for COVID-19 response.

After more than three years after its original declaration, the World Health Organization ended the global emergency status for COVID-19 last week.

Senator Christopher Lawrence Go urged the public to wear face masks, especially in public areas, as a precautionary measure against the virus.

During a hearing by the House Committee on Appropriations, DOH Officer-in-charge Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire said over 90 percent of the recently recorded COVID-19 infections are “mild and asymptomatic cases.”* with PNA report

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