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The Municipality of Pateros in Metro Manila has maintained its status as a coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-free local government unit (LGU) in the last three days, according to a report by Manila Bulletin.

Pateros reached the status on Dec. 4 when it recorded zero active COVID-19 case and zero new case based on data from the Pateros Health Department. It is the first LGU in Metro Manila to achieve this.

As of Dec. 4, Pateros had zero active COVID-19 case out of 7,957 confirmed cases. It also recorded 7,840 total recoveries and 106 deaths.

Pateros Mayor Miguel “Ike” Ponce III said since then, the municipality has kept the COVID-19 free status for three days.

“Yes, zero po for the last three days. Zero COVID kami kaya’t kami ay nag-iingat ng husto (Yes, we are zero for the last three days. We are zero COVID that is why we are very careful),” Ponce told DZMM Teleradyo on Dec. 6.

Pateros is the smallest LGU and the only municipality in Metro Manila with an estimated total population of 70,000.

In another interview with CNN Philippines, Ponce said from Nov. 13 to Dec. 5, the Pateros municipal government’s daily reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests produced zero positive case.

Ponce attributed Pateros’ COVID-19-free status to the high vaccination rate in the municipality.

“I think we can attribute these to the very high vaccination rollout that we have been doing in our town considering that out of the total population, I believe that we have already vaccinated, fully vaccinated around 96 percent of our adult population,” he said.

In addition, Ponce said, the municipal government has vaccinated close to 75 percent of minors aged 12 to 17 years old with the first dose, while 44 percent of the minors are now fully vaccinated.

Regarding vaccine hesitancy, Ponce said they have been campaigning to convince people to get the shots.

“We experienced some resistance and hesitancy in the first two weeks but the moment that our people witnessed and experienced that all those who got vaccinated really do not experience any adverse effects or adverse reactions on the vaccine. We were surprised that they were going to the vaccination centers and were eager to get vaccinated,” said the mayor.

While Pateros is COVID-19-free, there is the threat of the Omicron variant. Ponce said they will be implementing stricter rules this Christmas season “because we do not want to have a surge after the holidays.”

“That is why we are trying to limit the those who will be allowed to engage in caroling and we have to limit also the celebration of the Christmas party. So this is our way of preventing and not being confident of what we have already attained right now,” said Ponce.

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