Batanes regains COVID-19 free status

Raymund Catindig (The Philippine Star) - November 8, 2020 - 12:00am

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan, Philippines — Batanes has regained its status as the only province in the country with no coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 case.

The two confirmed cases in the province have recovered and discharged from quarantine facilities, Gov. Marilou Cayco said yesterday.

Batanes recorded its first two confirmed cases in September.

Both patients are locally stranded individuals (LSIs) who returned from Metro Manila and Laguna on a Philippine Air Force plane.

Authorities said the patients were asymptomatic during their isolation.

Cayco said 95 LSIs and returning overseas Filipinos remain in quarantine facilities in the province. None of them exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.

Cayco said Batanes would remain closed to tourists and non-residents as recommended by the provincial task force on COVID-19.

He said he is open to easing policies for visitors, but these have to be to be finalized through a resolution to be endorsed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

Sagada to reopen

Meanwhile, Sagada in Mountain Province will reopen its tourist sites, but only for local residents.

Mayor James Pooten Jr. issued an executive order for a calibrated reopening of tourism provided minimum health protocols and local ordinances to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are strictly observed.

Trips to Bomod-ok Falls is among those being offered.Spelelunking is not yet allowed.

Non-accommodation leisure areas and establishments, such as swimming pools and agri-tourism farms, are allowed to operate only at 50 percent capacity.

Online reservations are required to avoid overcrowding.

Vaccination suspended

In Cagayan, mass vaccination in Ballesteros town was suspended after a medical technologist, a dental aide, a pharmacist, a driver and a utility worker at a rural health unit (RHU) tested positive for the virus yesterday.

The RHU was locked down to pave the way for disinfection.

Authorities said the  RHU employees were exposed to a nurse in Allacapan town who visited them. A meat vendor who interacted with the nurse also contracted the virus.

In Pangasinan, another death due to COVID-19 was recorded in Dagupan City, bringing the total to 20.

Dagupan recorded five new cases and 28 recoveries on Friday.

The city is among the areas on the COVID watchlist in Pangasinan. – Eva Visperas, Artemio Dumlao

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