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Speedy testing sought for Boracay workers

Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - January 25, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The provincial government of Aklan has been urged again to speed up the swab testing of workers in Boracay following reports that some hotel workers on the island tested positive for COVID-19.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat reminded the provincial government to use the P10 billion downloaded by the Tourism Promotions Board for the RT-PCR or reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction tests of Boracay tourism workers.

The reminder was prompted by reports that a hotel in Boracay has been ordered to stop operation for five days after several employees contracted COVID.

“The DOT encourages the prompt treatment of affected workers and supports the temporary closure of establishments for disinfection in compliance with health and safety protocols,” Puyat said.

She said the DOT Boracay office would ensure safe and convenient relocation of guests to other establishments or isolation facilities.

“All workers and guests of DOT-accredited tourism enterprises on Boracay Island are enjoined to practice responsible tourism to effectively manage the COVID situation in the area. Warnings, suspension or closure await those who violate the rules and regulations,” Puyat said.

Meanwhile, the province of Negros Occidental remains closed to domestic and foreign tourists to avoid the spread of COVID virus, provincial administrator Rayfrando Diaz said yesterday.

“Non-essential travel is still not allowed. The Bacolod-Silay International Airport is still closed to tourists,” Diaz said, adding that even travel within the province is not encouraged.

Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson and the provincial council agreed that movement in the province should remain restricted until people are vaccinated against the virus.

While the provincial government has managed to contain the spread of COVID, Diaz said Negrenses should not let their guard down when it comes to ensuring their health and safety.

In Isabela, the municipality of Luna is seeking to be reverted back to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) for 14 days after it recorded a spike in COVID infections.

Luna Mayor Jaime Atayde said one of eight employees who attended a party contracted the virus and infected three workers at the local government building

The town’s request for reversion to MECQ has yet to be endorsed by Gov. Rodolfo Albano III to the regional inter-agency task force on COVID-19 for approval. – Gilbert Bayoran, Raymund Catindig

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