Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said Tuesday, March 23, that he wants travel from Cebu to Negros Occidental halted, too, to prevent a further spike in COVID-19 cases in the province.
On Monday, March 22, Negros Occidental had 263 active COVID-19 cases, and the Department of Health reported 16 new cases on Tuesday.
Lacson earlier asked the National Inter-Agency Task Force (NIATF) to halt all air, sea and land travel into Negros Occidental for two weeks.
The NIATF has not responded to his request but in its Resolution 104 it halted travel from the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, except for essential workers, until April 4, he said.
“It tells us that we have the same idea on how to control the spike of COVID-19 positive individuals. It (Resolution 104) takes effect today (March 23) so we expect less people coming to the province,” he said.
Lacson said Cebu travelers are not included in Resolution 104, and he is still pushing for their inclusion in a two-week travel ban.
He will also ask the NIAFT to allow Negros Occidental to implement its previous protocol that required all incoming passengers to be swabbed for COVID-19 tests on arrival in the province and quarantined until their negative results are out, Lacson said.
NIATF Resolution 101 has prevented the provincial government from enforcing that, but has allowed the testing of travelers prior to arrival in the province.
Lacson also said no decision has been made yet on the resumption of Ceres bus operations from outside Negros Occidental.
He is waiting for the report of Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz on negotiations with Ceres, Lacson said.
The governor has also stressed the need to practice minimum health protocols, especially avoiding crowded places on Holy Week
”What we are trying to do here is to avoid a drastic increase in COVID-positive individuals,” he said.
Lacson said he is not discouraging local tourism. “What we are trying to avoid are tourists coming from Metro Manila and Cebu,” he said.
Zeaphard Caelian, Provincial Incident Management Team head, said they will probably go on “Blue Alert” during Holy Week to ensure the safety of all.
They are encouraging the public to stay at home during Holy Week to prevent the spread of COVID-19, he said.*