Negros, Bacolod ‘welcome’ suspension of inbound travel from NCR ++

PHOTO CAPTION: The Province of Negros Occidental and the City of Bacolod are glad with the national IATF moratorium on incoming flights from NCR+, Cebu, and Davao./iNEWS

BACOLOD CITY–The one-week moratorium on flights and trips from the National Capital Region (NCR) and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal—or “NCR +”—Cebu, and Davao was welcomed by Negros and Bacolod officials.

IATF Resolution No. 108, released Monday, suspends inbound travel from the National Capital Region, the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Cebu, and Davao City to Region VI from April 4 until April 10, 2021.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III confirmed to Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas on Saturday night that the national Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) had granted the request of the region’s local chief executives for a moratorium on travel from the above-mentioned areas due to a surge of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson/iNEWS

Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said the one-week travel ban “will affect the schedule of some, but the health of the greater number should take precedence. This is, after all, a cause for concern that needs the cooperation of everyone.”

Data from the Provincial Incident Management Team showed that Negros Occidental has had 7,623 COVID-19 cases since March 27 last year, of which 474 are active cases, 6,921 are recoveries, and 228 are deaths.

Asked if he thought there was a need for mass testing in Negros Occidental, Lacson answered, “No, but contact tracing should be intensified.”

The governor appealed to Negrenses to minimize social gatherings, wear double masks, and adhere to all the other health protocols.

RELIEF FOR FRONTLINERS

For Bacolod City Vice-Mayor El Cid Familiaran, the moratorium is “a relief for our medical frontliners”.

“It is a timeout. We are experiencing a series of spikes with daily cases at 25, 33, and 29. Our hospitals are overwhelmed,” Familiaran said, adding that the relaxation of restrictions contributed to the surge.

“The public was also complacent; they thought there was no COVID-19 anymore. The modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status bred the false notion that things were back-to-normal,” he explained.

Bacolod City Vice-Mayor El Cid Familiaran/iNEWS

Records of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) show that Bacolod recorded 188 active cases in 14 days prior to March 30 and a 17 percent positivity rate from March 23 to 29.

The EOC reported that the number of cases multiplied fourfold: from a daily average of 4.42 cases recorded from March 7 to 20, to a daily average of 20.36 cases recorded from March 21 to April 3.

Familiaran noted that, despite the fact that Iloilo City was the only one who requested for the moratorium, the national IATF deemed it best to cover the whole of Western Visayas.

However, he denied reports that Bacolod City will be placed under Emergency Community Quarantine (ECQ) status.

“We are not closing our border with Talisay City in the north or Bago in the south,” the vice mayor stressed.

Familiaran also said, “We must follow all health protocols until all of us are vaccinated. This is our shared responsibility, and each of us has a role to play.”/(Eugene Y. Adiong/iNEWS-Bacolod/Negros Bureau)

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