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Negative RT-PCR test results required from inbound travelers


With the COVID-19 Omicron variant spreading fast in the country, Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson is now requiring inbound travelers to Negros Occidental, whether vaccinated or not, coming from areas under Alert Level 3, to have a negative RT-PCR test result not later than 72 hours prior to approval of their S-Pass, starting January 9.

It has been said that even you are fully vaccinated, you can still be infected, Lacson said, noting also a low double digit increase in number of COVID-19 cases in the province, although he cannot sure if it can be attributed to the Omicron variant.

He said that the negative RT-PCR test result being required from inbound travelers form part of the precautionary measures against the spread of Omicron.

Active cases in highly-urbanized Bacolod City doubled from 16 to 34 Wednesday night, according to Em Legaspi- Ang, executive director of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

Dr. Rosalie Deocampo, EOC contact tracing cluster head, said those infected have a travel history, or had attended holiday gatherings.

Highly-urbanized cities of Bacolod and Iloilo recorded one Omicron variant infection each.

But Negros Island, including highly urbanized Bacolod City, as well as Panay province are still under Alert Level 2.

Lacson, however said that there is no need yet to close the border of Negros Occidental to Negros Oriental as of this time. “We will decide again if it will increase,” he added, apparently referring to COVID-19 cases.

An increase of 12 COVID-19 cases was reported yesterday in Negros Occidental, which recorded 178 cases on January 5.

Lacson personally encouraged the use of double masks and face shield to help stop the spread of the virus.

Mayor Evelio Leonardia also renewed his reminders to Bacolodnons that the COVID-19 19 pandemic is not yet over, and that they should observe minimum health protocols to control transmission of the deadly virus.

“Getting vaccinated certainly protects us but we have to be reminded to wear face mask, avoid crowded places and observe social distancing at all times,” Leonardia said.

As the prediction of health experts that COVID-19 cases will rise up after the holiday season came to reality, Lacson said “It is now happening at the National Capital Region and neighboring provinces.”

“I always think that whatever happens in Luzon, will also happen nationwide”, he stressed.*

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January 2022

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