Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson assured Negrenses Sunday, March 14, that all incoming passengers to Negros Occidental will not be allowed entry into the province without COVID-19 negative RT-PCR test results from their point of origin starting Monday, March 15.
The governor gave the assurance amid concern raised over a report that an Overseas Filipino Worker from Western Visayas has tested positive for the Brazilian COVID-19 variant.
There has also been an increase in locally stranded individuals (LSIs) entering Negros Occidental found positive for COVID-19, with 21 cases reported by the Department of Health (DOH) during the weekend.
Of the 157 active COVID-19 cases in Negros Occidental as of Sunday, the LSIs are 109, Overseas Filipino Workers – 3, Authorized Persons Outside Residence -14 who all entered the province in March, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said.
“More than ever we should not be complacent and continue to practice health standards,” Lacson said
Lacson said despite Negros Occidental’s having to adopt the national Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases Resolution 101 setting uniform travel protocols, in Executive Order 21-18, Series of 2021 that he issued Saturday negative RT-PCR tests results for COVID-19 prior to travel are required of all those coming to Negros Occidental.
Negative RT-PCR results prior to travel shall be valid for 72 hours from swab sample extraction, conducted and issued by a DOH accredited molecular laboratory, he said in the EO.
Passengers who do not have negative RT-PCR results will not be allowed to board for travel to Negros Occidental, he added.
For travel within Region 6, no negative RT-PCR test results will be required.
Previously incoming passengers were required to be swabbed for RT-PCR tests and quarantined on arrival in Negros Occidental until their negative test results were out.
“We are simply compelled to implement Resolution 101 of the national IATF. Despite our effective system, we have to abandon it under pain of being given show cause orders,” Diaz said.
Under the new EO, inbound passengers will no longer be required to undergo facility quarantine on arrival in the province. They will only undergo a seven-day home quarantine on arrival in their LGU of destination, Lacson said n the EO.
The EO states that travel to Negros Occidental for all purposes, including but not limited to business, essential service, leisure, and tourism, will be open to the public, subject to certain requirements.
Inbound passengers must secure an electronic or printed copy of the Approved Travel Coordination Permit issued by the S-PaSS travel management system.
Inbound passengers must also show proof that they have downloaded and registered at StaySafe.ph.
Under the EO, all airports, seaports and terminals in Negros Occidental shall be open to the public.
Private and public vehicles will be allowed to transport passengers to and from the airport, seaports, or terminals.
The province of Negros Occidental will offer voluntary “swab and go,” and voluntary swabbing and quarantine to inbound passengers at the airport and seaports, the EO added.
There has been a spike in COVID-19 cases in the Philippines and the first Brazilian variant of the virus was detected in an OFW from Western Visayas.
The OFW who arrived from Brazil with the COVID-19 Brazilian variant is from Iloilo but they are still determining if the person had already arrived in the region, Dr. Jessie Glen Alonsabe, DOH 6 regional epidemiologist, said.
They are contact tracing, he said.*