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Bing insists on RT-PCR for travelers

BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III

Mayor Evelio “Bing” Leonardia said yesterday that he is not in favor of the suggestion made by fast craft operators for swabs upon arrival for all passengers from Panay going to Bacolod instead of submitting a negative Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction test result taken 72 hours before travel.

Leonardia stressed that the city needs to protect its borders and will not allow just anybody to come in without any RT-PCR test results, adding that the situation right now is not ordinary.

“If they come here on their own, why should the government spend for their RT-PCR test?” Leonardia asked.

“If in case they (travelers) yield positive (for Covid 19) and are isolated, it will entail additional expenses for the city government,” he added.

The mayor said that the city government would like to ensure that it will not regret in the end whatever actions or measures it will implement.

Executive officer Frank Carbon of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who is also a fast craft operator, earlier said they wrote a letter to Leonardia regarding their appeal for RT-PCR test upon arrival on Tuesday.

Carbon said this is more convenient, and not costly, and at the same time, it will help avoid the proliferation of fake test results. He noted that most fast craft operators had decided to stop their operations because many passengers opted not to travel to Bacolod from Panay anymore due to restrictions implemented by the city.

Leonardia said he referred the letter of the fast craft operators to the Emergency Operations Center and he has already talked with acting City Health Officer Edwin Miraflor about it.

Meanwhile, Leonardia said he is mulling the requirement of essential goods carrier to undergo rapid testing before entering Bacolod. Currently, under Executive Order Number 42 that Leonardia issued, essential goods carrier are allowed to enter Bacolod without requirements while Authorized Persons Outside Residence are required negative RT-PCR test results.*

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