Cebu province steps up Covid vax drive to help tourism sector

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In a bid to encourage tourists to visit tourism destinations in Cebu province, government agencies and the private sector held a two-day intensified vaccination program in three municipalities in Bantayan Island.

A total of 3,494 individuals were inoculated in Bantayan, Santa Fe, and Madridejos towns on Friday and Saturday.

Bantayan had the most number of vaccinees at 2,554, Madridejos had 618, and Santa Fe inoculated 322.

A similar activity is also scheduled in Camotes Islands, one of the most-visited sites in Cebu.

Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, and Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) – Visayas chief Melquiades Feliciano agreed on the need to give priority to Cebu’s tourist destinations.

“We need to restore tourists’ confidence in Cebu as a destination so they will return to help jumpstart economic recovery. Aside from implementing minimum health protocols, Cebu can ensure the safety of both tourists and locals through vaccination,” Dino said in a news release on Sunday.

The activity was spearheaded by OPAV, Visayas Covid-19 Vaccination Operations Center, Cebu provincial government, IATF-Visayas, Department of Health-7 (DOH-7), Cebu Vaccination Group led by the All-Terrain Medical Relief Organization, JCI Metro Cebu Uptown, and Cebu City Emergency Operations Center.

In 2019, Central Visayas’ tourism earnings amounted to PHP97 billion, with Cebu accounting for the bulk of tourist arrivals.

“As a tourist spot, we need to have a community vaccination. How can we accept tourists if we are not vaccinated first?” Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH 7 chief pathologist, pointed out.

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