BACOLOD officials assured residents that protocols are being implemented to avoid another coronavirus surge in the city after a returning overseas worker was reported on Monday as the first Omicron variant case in the Western Visayas region.

Mayor Evelio R. Leonardia and the local task force handling the pandemic response, in a statement released by the city information office, said the Omicron patient was already medically certified as having recovered from the virus before arriving in Bacolod.

“There is no cause for panic as the 38-year-old returning overseas Filipino, a cruise ship crew member who planed in from the United States, has already completed the mandatory isolation and quarantine requirement in Manila and had a negative RT-PCR result before being allowed to board a flight for the Bacolod-Silay Airport,” the city government said. 

“This is an imported one based on the accounts made by the DoH (Department of Health) and other experts. It so happened that his genome sequencing result came out late. But just the same, we have to take precautions,” Mr. Leonardia said.

He also assured that border controls at all ports are being strengthened amid the threat of the more transmissible Omicron variant.

The local government reported that its monitoring team recently caught a resident of Hinigaran town in Negros Occidental who presented an outdated RT-PCR test result upon arrival at the Bredco seaport.

“The holder of the fake RT-PCR was not allowed by authorities to board the roll-on, roll-off vessel bound for Iloilo,” it said.