CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Residents of Bukidnon seeking assistance from the provincial government will have to hold it off as Governor Jose Maria Zubiri has ordered the temporary suspension of extending financial aid, especially to the indigent constituents, until further notice, starting Monday, July 26.
The temporary suspension was imposed following reports that two variants of the coronavirus – Alpha and Delta – have been detected in the province recently.
In a statement, Zubiri said that only burial assistance will be available to residents.
He said that reports from the Department of Health in Northern Mindanao (DOH-10) of the Alpha and Delta variants which are more transmittable than the original strain.
“This is six to eight times more transmittable and more dangerous than the original strain,” Zubiri said.
The governor said the temporary discontinuation of handing out financial aid was prompted by an incident where minimum health standards were not being observed.
“Last week there was a crowd of people asking for assistance, but they did not follow the health protocols such as maintaining of one-meter social distance,” Zubiri said.
He said he cannot allow people to just break protocols and put others at risk.
“The provincial government will not tolerate and allow this violation of health protocol, as we are very mindful of the safety of everyone,” he added.
For his part, Dr. Gary Tabios Jr., Bukidnon provincial health officer, confirmed the discovery of a single alpha variant case in Valencia City.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified each emerging variant as either a variant of concern (VOC) or a variant of interest (VOI). The Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta variants fall under Variants of Concern.
WHO said that a variant of concern translates to a rise in transmissibility, an increase in fatality and a significant decrease in effectiveness of vaccines, therapy, and other health measures.
According to Johns Hopkins data, this variant was first detected in Southern England in 2020.
A Lancet study showed that patients suffering from bouts of the Alpha variant posed a greater risk of Critical Care Utilization admission, and 28-day mortality, if weighed against patients with non-Alpha strains of the virus.
With the Alpha variant case in Valencia City, Tabios said that it is with the DOH-10 to inform the public of its findings.