BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson yesterday requested the Inter -Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases for a temporary travel ban on air, sea and land travel to Negros Occidental effective immediately for a period of two weeks, after announcement from Malacañang that the National Capital Region and adjacent provinces will all be under a general community quarantine (GCQ) from March 22 to April 4.
The Department of Health reported yesterday that the country has 7,757 new cases, as it also previously recorded 7,103 and 7,999 cases on March 19 and 20, respectively.
In his letter to Health Secretary Francisco Duque and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, Lacson said, “I believe that this is imperative in order to protect our constituents, our local economy and our future as a province. If I stand idly, I fear that our gains in the past year will be put to waste, to the detriment of our people.”
The formal request was accompanied by graphic illustrations and figures showing that the introduction of the uniform travel protocols (Resolution No. 101) has resulted in an increased number of COVID-19 cases in the province.
As of March 18, Negros Occidental had 232 Covid 19 active cases, from its lowest of more than 50 last month, records of the Provincial Incident Management Team showed.
Before the adoption of IATF Resolution 101, Lacson said, “ Our provincial health and travel protocols were able to manage the spread of the virus in the local communities, and component local government units were able to report 0 to 10 confirmed cases in their jurisdiction on Feb 23, with the exception of Silay City, with 13 cases.
On the other hand, the introduction of the uniform travel protocol has resulted in an increased Covid-19 confirmed cases in many LGUs particularly in Victorias, Manapla, Cadiz, Sagay, Escalante, Calatrava, San Carlos and Sipalay, he added.
A week after the implementation of IATF resolution 101 that started March 15, the Teresita Lopez Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City turned in results showing an alarming rise in positivity rates to an over all rate of 5.95 percent, with Locally Stranded Individuals 8.62 percent, and domestic cases now 4.91 percent, Lacson noted.
He also reported a drastic increase of Covid-19 cases at the EB Magalona healing center, as reported by its administrator, from 22 individuals in Feb. 23 to 111 on March20.
The increase of domestic cases is directly proportionate to the number of confirmed cases among LSIs, Lacson said.
“As of Feb, 23, we had 19 LSIs confirmed cases, with one domestic case,but as of March 20, domestic cases have reached 19,with 89 LSIs confirmed cases,” he added.
Lacson also reported that the provincial quarantine facility for Covid-19 confirmed cases with mild symptoms is nearly reaching its maximum capacity.
Earlier, he issued an executive order requiring inbound travelers from Manila to Negros Occidental, to present negative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result not earlier than 72 hours before their travel.
Travelers are also required to register with the S-PaSS and StaySafe.Ph system.
In view of the rising cases in Metro Manila, CALABARZON and Region 7, Iloilo City Mayor Treñas said he and Gov. Defensor have requested for a moratorium on flights and trips up to April 10.
This will be effective as soon as the IATF approves the request, Trenas said.
During a zoom meeting among Western Visayas governors and mayors of two highly urbanized cities on March 19, Trenas disclosed that WV officials have agreed to include Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APORs) in the list of travelers to be required to have negative RT-PCR results, which they were previously exempted when entering the region.
In view of the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country, the Department of Interior and Local Government in Region 6 ordered the suspension of all cockfighting operations in areas under MGCQ, as stated in the IATF-EID Resolution No. 103.
Meanwhile, Toboso Mayor Richard Jaojoco ordered a suspension of the weekly flag raising ceremonies of the municipal government, due to a rise in Covid-19 local transmission.
Jaojoco also advised municipal employees to observe minimum health protocols.*