LSIs barred in Basilan, Lanao Sur, Camiguin

Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - July 8, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Residents of Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Camiguin stranded in Metro Manila will have to wait before they can return to their provinces.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday suspended the issuance of travel authority of locally stranded individuals (LSIs) bound for the three provinces for 15 days.

PNP deputy chief for operations Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said the suspension is in compliance with the directive of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, concurrent chairman of the National Task Force on COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) response.

Lorenzana granted the request of the governors of the three provinces for a travel ban.

“The request for the suspension of repatriation is because quarantine facilities in the provinces have reached their maximum capacity,” Eleazar said.

Basilan Gov. Jim Salliman said the suspension would ”boost our efforts to address the needs of residents who returned from different regions who tested positive for COVID-19.”

Salliman said the provincial government intensified its efforts to prevent the spread of the disease after the number of confirmed cases rose from three last month to 75 on Monday.

The Basilan provincial disaster risk reduction and management council has facilitated the return of 1,983 stranded residents since March.

The issuance of travel authority for LSIs bound for Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas and Cebu City remains suspended.

In Zamboanga City, 12 new cases were recorded yesterday, six of them LSIs who arrived from Metro Manila.

There are now 249 COVID-19 cases in the city.

Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar expressed concern that the opening of commercial flights as well as the entry of LSIs and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) would ”put the city at greater risk” for contracting the virus.

Northen Luzon cases

Meanwhile, Ilocos Norte’s COVID-free status was short-lived as it reported two new cases on Monday.

Ilocos Norte Gov. Mathew Manotoc said the patients – a frontliner from Quezon City and a worker from Cavite – were confined at the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital in Batac City.

Nueva Ecija now has 81 cases after five were found infected yesterday.

In Isabela, two OFWs, who returned to San Isidro and Cabatuan, are among the five new cases.

There are now 120 cases in Cagayan Valley. John Unson, Raymund Catindig, Roel Pareño, Artemio Dumlao

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