‘Moratorium on travel possible if COVID cases continue to rise’

Capitol photo

Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson Thursday, March 18, said he may ask for a moratorium on travel into Negros Occidental if the COVID-19 cases in the province continue to rise.

“A month ago we were down to 58 active COVID-19 cases and now we have 193,” he said, pointing out that most of them are from Metro Manila and Cebu.

“One of the possibilities again is really to ask for a moratorium of travel when we can see that we cannot control anymore the increase in number of COVID-19 cases,” he said.

The provincial government will ask for a moratorium on passengers arriving from certain areas if its quarantine facilities become full and unmanageable, he said.

Lacson said there has also been an increase in COVID-19 cases in Panay.

Concern has also been raised in Bacolod City over an increase in its COVID-19 cases.

There are 20 new COVID-19 cases in Negros Occidental, 15 of whom are Locally Stranded Individuals and one a Returning Overseas Filipino, the Department of Health reported Thursday.

The DOH also reported 12 new COVID-19 cases in Bacolod City.

The Negros Occidental provincial government used to require passengers to be tested for COVID-19 on arrival in the province and to remain in quarantine until their negative test results were released.

The provincial government, however, had to adopt the national Inter-Agency Task Force Resolution 101 that no longer allows testing and quarantine of passengers on arrival.

“Personally, I am not happy with Resolution 101 but we have to comply, remember they warned us with a show-cause order,” Lacson said.

However, Lacson said at least Resolution 101 has allowed him to require incoming passengers to have negative RT-PCR test results taken from their point of origin, which must be valid for 72 hours from the date of swab sample extraction.

Western Visayas officials are also asking the national IATF to allow them to require Authorized Persons Outside Residence to have negative RT-PCR results before entry.

Lacson said the governors and mayors of highly urbanized cities in Western Visayas are holding another Zoom meeting Friday, March 19, because they would like to monitor the increase in COVID-19 cases, he said.

Their concern are passengers arriving from Metro Manila and Cebu, Lacson said.

On the resumption of Vallacar Transit Inc. buses carrying passengers from outside Negros Occidental, Lacson said they have to convince us that they can monitor the passengers they are bringing in to ensure that they are COVID-free.

The resumption of VTI bus operations from outside Negros Occidental will depend on their assurance, he said.

All passengers on their buses coming from outside Negros Occidental must also have COVID-19 negative test results, he said.

“The last thing we want is for airlines, shipping lines, and land transport to be carriers of positive COVID-19 passengers,” he said.*

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