SBMA restricts entry  at Freeport over COVID
The restriction will start at midnight and end on April 14, or as long as the public health emergency declared by Malacañang is in effect, accor-ding to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).
STAR/ File

SBMA restricts entry at Freeport over COVID

Bebot Sison Jr. (The Philippine Star) - March 16, 2020 - 12:00am

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT , Philippines— Entry to the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ) is restricted starting today to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), authorities said yesterday.

The restriction will start at midnight and end on April 14, or as long as the public health emergency declared by Malacañang is in effect, accor-ding to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

The order was approved by the SBMA’s board of directors on Saturday to protect the safety and well-being of stakeholders of the Subic Bay Freeport (SBF).

The SBMA issued exceptions like allowing SBF residents to enter the port.

It said SBFZ residents coming from Metro Manila and other areas with confirmed local COVID-19 transmission would be required to undergo self-quarantine for 14 days.

While on quarantine, these residents will be monitored by personnel of the SBMA’s public health and safety department.

SBF locators, employees and students who do not manifest symtoms of COVID-19 will be allowed entry, provided they will leave the premises on the same day.

This guideline also applies to personnel of accredited service providers and logistics companies, port users, employees of government agencies operating within the SBFZ, suppliers and emergency service team.

SBMA officials started enforcing health and safety measures early last month when the coronavirus outbreak was spreading to other countries from China.

These measures included a ban on the entry of persons, vessels and aircraft coming from COVID-hit countries, and thermal scanning and screening at Freeport gates.

It urged all Subic business locators to conduct business with non-SBF enterprises through video-conference.

Clients were encouraged to submit documents online to prevent or minimize physical contact.


No confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Pangasinan, according to local health officials.

In a post on social media, the provincial health office said that as of 8 a.m. yesterday, no one among its 13 residents listed as persons under investigation (PUIs) tested positive for COVID-19.

Of the 13 PUIs, eight remain confined in hospitals while the rest have been discharged.

There are at least 1,000 residents listed as persons under monitoring and are undergoing a 14-day quarantine period.

State of calamity

The city government of Cabadbaran in Agusan del Norte has declared a state of calamity after one of its residents was identified as a PUI for COVID-19.

The city council said the declaration aims to protect the residents and initiate necessary actions to prevent the spread of the disease.

The PUI was brought to the Caraga Regional Hospital in Surigao City for confirmatory tests.

The PUI is in stable condition and waiting for the results of the tests, according to Surigao del Norte information officer Maryjul Espuerta.

The declaration of a state of calamity authorizes a local government unit to release and use its quick response fund to address any existing emergency.

Meanwhile, the provincial government of Surigao del Norte has banned Chinese tourists and crewmembers of commercial vessels coming from China from entering the province.

Gov. Francisco Matugas issued an order designating holding and drifting areas of cargo vessels from China.

Matugas said the crewmembers as well as the tourists would be allowed entry once they secure clearances from the Bureau of Quarantine.– With Eva Visperas, Cesar Ramirez, Ben Serrano


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