BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Provincial Incident Management Team head, Dr. Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian, said yesterday that there are cases where some returning residents presented expired or fake RT-PCR test results.
Caelian said the discovery was made by some local government units, that scrutinized documents presented by inbound travelers to Negros Occidental, although he does not know privy how many are using it.
But he cannot blame them for the expiration of RT-PCR negative test results, beyond the 72-hour prescribed period, Caelian said
What they are doing is to avail of voluntary swabs. So, he said, they are considering it.
In reply to a question whether those travelers using fake documents have been charged in court, Caelian he has no idea if the LGUs pursued legal action against them.
PIMT records showed that Negros Occidental has 263 Covid-19 active cases, as of March 22, excluding the 111 active cases in Bacolod City.
Caelian reported that the EB Magalona quarantine facility is now occupied by 110 individuals positive for Covid-19, and 10 others who had direct contacts with the infected persons.
The spike in Covid 19 cases in Negros Occidental, that was 58 on February 23 to 263 as of March 22, was attributed by the Provincial Health Office to uniform travel protocols, with majority of the infected individuals returning residents.
Before the imposition of uniform travel protocols, inbound travelers to Negros Occidental were required to undergo swab testing and quarantine upon arrival.
Caelian said that 89 passengers arrived at the Bacolod port recently, and he expects the arrival of more than 100 others today.
The non-inclusion of Cebu in travel restrictions, in a resolution issued by the National Inter Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, where cases of Covid-19 also increasing, also caused worry to Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson.
“They (travelers) cannot go out from Manila, but Cebu is not included in NIATF,” Lacson said, as he reiterated the need to strictly monitor the travel of individuals from Cebu to Negros Occidental.
RoRo vessels are usingthe ports of Escalante and San Carlos in Negros Occidental to unload cargos and passengers from Cebu, and even those of Sagay and Cadiz that connects to Bantayan, Cebu, aside from Cebu-Bacolod flights.
Lacson said he is still waiting for a reply from NIATF on his proposal for a two-week travel moratorium from Manila and Cebu to Negros Occidental, in the wake of the spike in Covid 19 cases in those areas.
“We still have to accept our allowed passengers from Cebu,” he added.
“The next thing I’ll do is now to ask NIATF to allow us to go back to our previous protocol. Meaning to say,upon entry, we will test and quarantine them, until negative results come out,” Lacson said.*