BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Negros Occidental will not close its borders with Iloilo but Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said yesterday that they will require negative RT-PCR results from travelers, “with no exception”.
“Borders cannot be closed because of trade,” Lacson stressed.
In an advisory issued by the provincial government of Negros Occidental, following the detection of four more Covid Delta variant cases in Panay, Lacson said “the provisions of EO 21-38, series of 2021, shall be the uniform travel protocol for all inbound travelers to Negros Occidental, from Aug. 1 to 31”.
These include the strict implementation of Section 2 (3), requiring a negative RT-PCR test result at least 72 hours before travel.
The city and province of Iloilo were placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine until Aug. 7. Bacolod City and Negros Oriental are under General Community Quarantine status with heightened restrictions, while Negros Occidental, that has been experiencing a downtrend in the number of daily active cases, will remain under the GCQ the whole month of August.
Meanwhile, local chief executives in Western Visayas have signed a petition pushing for the putting up of a genome sequencing center in the region after the Department of Health confirmed new cases of the Delta variant Thursday.
The Western Visayas officials, in a petition dated July 28, urged the Department of Science and Technology to provide the necessary equipment, machines, and other devices for the Philippine Genome Center at the University of the Philippines Visayas in Miag-ao, Iloilo.
“Considering the report on confirmed Covid-19 Delta variant infected individuals in Panay Island, there is a critical need for prompt recognition of the variants circulating in the community to allow proper planning and intervention measures to avoid a further surge in cases,” the petition read.
The petition was signed by the five provincial governors, including Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, and mayors Evelio Leonardia and Jerry Treñas of the highly urbanized cities of Bacolod and Iloilo, respectively. Antique Governor Rhodora Cadiao did not attend the meeting, but she expressed her support to the petition.
The current procedure of forwarding specimens taken via swab testing to the genome center in Metro Manila is time consuming, Region 6 officials said.*