Muslim pilgrims to get Sinovac jab

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 13 April) – A portion of the latest Sinovac shipment intended for Northern Mindanao had been given to Muslims who are planning to go on a hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, an official of the Department of Health in Region 10 said.

Meranaw women at the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental wear PPEs during the pandemic. MindaNews photo file by BOBBY TIMONERA

This as Muslims started fasting as the month of Ramadan began Tuesday amid calls from their leaders to observe strict health protocols when going to the mosques.

Emiliano Galban Jr., DOH-10 spokesperson, said they have allotted almost 1,000 of the 22,000 Sinovac doses that arrived at the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental last April 8 for the pilgrims.

He said these would be delivered to Amai Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi City, whose personnel will be responsible for the inoculation.

Mayor Oscar Moreno urged Cagayan de Oro residents to understand the request of the Muslims who wanted to go on pilgrimage to Mecca.

“This is devotion to our Muslim brothers and sisters and should not be deprived to them,” Moreno said during the daily presser here last Monday.

The provincial government of Lanao del Sur has required medical certificates for those traveling into the province after COVID-19 cases spiked in the last few days.

Shiela Ganda, of the Lanao del Sur Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), said there were 35 new infections on Monday, bringing the total active cases to 145.

The provincial IATF, in a resolution released April 8, has suspended Lanao del Sur’s “No Movement Sunday” policy last Sunday so residents can prepare for the Ramadan. It will resume starting April 18.

Ganda said a curfew from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. is still in effect in the entire province, including Marawi City.

She said they have also published a set of safety guidelines for those going to mosques to pray. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)