BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Fifty-five travelers that arrived in Negros Occidental on January 6 and 7 respectively, tested positive for COVID-19 infection during series of antigen testing, disclosed yesterday by Provincial Inter Agency Task Force action officer Rayfrando Diaz.
This was after Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson ordered the Provincial Health Office to conduct rapid antigen testing on incoming passengers at airports and seaports of Negros Occidental until January 9.
Diaz said that the 55 airline passengers were immediately brought to a quarantine facility in Silay City, Negros Occidental for isolation.
Of the 55 airline passengers, 25 of them arrived on January 6 at the Bacolod-Silay airport, and 30 yesterday, Diaz said.
But he added that Provincial Health Officer Dr. Ernell Tumimbang has requested Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson to allow them for confirmatory testing by conducting RT-PCR tests on the 55 travelers to make sure it is 100 percent accurate.
Lacson issued an executive order requiring all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to present a negative RT-PCR test result, 72 hours prior to their travel to Negros Occidental if they came from areas under Alert Level 3 status.
Sea vessels from areas classified under Alert Level 3 are being allowed only to transport up to 50 percent passenger capacity.
While intrazonal and interzonal travel is allowed, Lacson, in his executive order issued on January 6, discouraged travel to and from areas classified under Alert Level 3 and 4, including the National Capital Region.
Individuals with fake document requirements will be apprehended and shall face criminal sanctions under the existing laws and regulations, and subjected to a 14-day quarantine and RT-PCR test at their expense on the 5th day from arrival, he stressed.
Lacson also restricted air travel between Negros Occidental and areas classified under Alert Level 3, to one flight per airline company every day, for Manila-Bacolod-Manila flights.
But he said that airline companies may avail of one additional inbound Manila to Bacolod cargo-only flight and one additional outbound Bacolod to Manila passenger flight per day.
Lacson allows one flight for every airline company per week for Cebu-Bacolod-Cebu flights.
He also ordered the Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Provincial Incident Management Team (PIMT) to heighten the security and patrol of the Negros Occidental borders to ensure compliance of his issued executive order.
On January 6, the PIMT recorded 40 new COVID-19 active cases in Negros Occidental, with 10 recoveries and one death in Kabankalan City.*