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IATF to deliberate on Lacson appeal for Covid tests, quarantine on arrival

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The national Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases is scheduled to deliberate on the appeal of Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson to allow Negros Occidental to impose mandatory COVID-19 testing and quarantine of travelers on entry into the province.

The IATF is expected to deliberate on his appeal on Monday, April 5, Lacson said Sunday, April 4.

“I believe this is imperative in order to protect our constituents, our local economy and our future as a province,” Lacson said Thursday, April 1, in letters to Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar, and Secretary Vince Dizon, NTF deputy chief implementer and COVID-19 testing czar.

The governor said he would like to prevent the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 within the province that is clearly brought by Locally Stranded Individuals, Authorized Persons Outside of Residence and Returning Overseas Filipinos entering Negros Occidental.

“If I stand by idly, I fear that the gains in the past year will be put to waste, to the detriment of our people,” Lacson said.

Lacson said on March 30 he issued Executive Order No. 21-18-A Series of 2021 implementing the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases Resolution 101 with revisions.

On Wednesday, he received a letter from DILG 6 Regional Director Juan Jovian Ingeniero disallowing the mandatory testing and quarantine of travelers on entry into the province until their negative test results are out saying that they do not conform to the policies of the national IATF as stated in Resolution 101.

Resolution 101 only allows RT-PCR testing of passengers prior to departure from their point of origin, but disallows testing and quarantine on arrival.

Lacson in his letters said, “while we intend to implement the uniform travel protocols mandated in the IATF Resolution 101, the unexpected increase in positivity rate in our molecular laboratory and the rapid surge of COVID-19 confirmed cases has rendered then province of Negros Occidental defenseless from the onslaught of COVID-19 cases coming from other parts of the country.”

A source said the IATF is likely to grant the request of Lacson with slight revisions.*

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