BACOLOD CITY: Even as the whole of Western Visayas (WV) is now classified as the new epicenter of coronavirus cases in the Philippines, Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said the situation in the province is still "manageable."

Lacson's statement comes after a report Region 6 had been considered by OCTA Research as an epicenter of Covid-19 cases.

Based on the June 9 bulletin issued by the Department of Health, WV has 9,517 active cases of Covid-19.

Of the figure, 2,269 are from Iloilo City, 1,930 from Negros Occidental, 1,845 from Iloilo province, 1,578 from Bacolod City, 743 from Capiz, 558 from Aklan, 454 from Antique and 140 from Guimaras.

The region's total case count stands at 52,573, including 41,789 recoveries and 1,251 deaths.

Lacson and provincial consultant Alfredo Abelardo Benitez met with the local medical community on Wednesday to get feedback on the Covid-19 situation of the province.

Doctors from the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases-Western Visayas urged the governor to implement their recommendations as soon as possible.

They recommended to close borders or ports of entry in Negros Occidental to nonessential travel for two weeks.

They also recommended not allowing dining in restaurants and pubs, the closing down of non-essential businesses and a ban on social gatherings for at least two weeks.

They also said only immediate family members should be allowed to attend wakes and funerals with the strict health protocols.

There should also be prompt management of homeless people and street children by housing them or providing them with masks and face shields and for proper policing of quarantine facilities, the doctors added.

Home quarantine is allowed as long as infrastructure requirements are complied and strict monitoring will be enforced.

They also recommended children below 18 years old should not be allowed out for two weeks unless in cases of emergency when health protocols are still required.

Lacson said closure of borders with Negros Oriental is still being imposed.

"As far as the airport is concerned, travelers have to present a negative RT-PCR test or be swabbed upon arrival," he said.

He added as far as the other recommendations of the doctors are concerned "I will discuss this with mayors."

"Personally, I'm in favor of 30 percent occupancy of businesses but with strict compliance," Lacson said.

Negros Occidental is under modified general community quarantine until June 30.