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Prov’l gov’t adamant in requiring negative RT-PCR test results

BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

The provincial government of Negros Occidental stands firm in its decision to require inbound travelers coming from areas under Alert Level 3 to present a negative RT-PCR test result.

This was agreed by top health officials, including Provincial Health Officer Dr. Ernell Tumimbang, Hospital Operations Division chief Dr. Girlie Pinongan and Dr. Mary Ann Maestral, chief of the Teresita Lopez Jalandoni Provincial Hospital during a Provincial Incident Management Team meeting, which was also attended by Provincial Inter Agency Task Force action officer Rayfrando Diaz.

The decision was also in support to the statement earlier made by Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson that he prefers the retention of negative RT-PCR test requirements.

Mayor Evelio Leonardia is set to release an executive order lifting the RT-PCR test requirement for Bacolod inbound travelers from Negros Oriental and in Western Visayas, which are all under Alert Level 3.

Negros Occidental and highly-urbanized Bacolod City are also under Alert Level 3.

Ultimately, the medical sector will carry the burden of curing and taking care of the sick, Diaz said, after a consultation with the medical sector.

While Bacolod City can make their own EOs and guidelines, whether or not to request for RT-PCR, but on the part of the province, we still implement the S-PaSS, in lieu of the vax card, which is temporarily suspended, for presentation for purposes of travel, and RT-PCR (negative result), Diaz said.

Fastcraft Weesam Express operator Frank Carbon had earlier proposed lifting the RT-PCR test requirement and replacing it with a “no vaccination, no travel” policy instead.

Diaz also seemed to be apologizing to Negrense travelers for the inconvenience, especially those originating from Metro Manila stating that Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson would have preferred the RT-PCR test be implemented upon their arrival in the province instead.

However, Diaz pointed out they are unable to do it due to the guidelines set by the National Inter-Agency Task Force (NIATF).

The present guidelines set by the NIATF state that the RT-PCR test should be done within 72 hours before travel.

The choice is between negative RT-PCR test results on origin, or no RT-PCR.  So, where are we? If no RT-PCR, it would already too reckless during this time, Diaz said, citing temporary closure of some local government offices and limitation of hospital patients due to COVID-19 infections.*

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