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Cebu City eyes âno test, no entryâ policy
The EOC has endorsed this recommendation to the Office of the Mayor, subject to the latter’s approval. But since Mayor Edgardo Labella is still on a medical leave, acting Mayor Michael Rama is expected to take action on the matter.

Cebu City eyes ‘no test, no entry’ policy

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol (The Freeman) - June 22, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Cebu City’s Emergency Operations Center has recommended requiring travelers from provinces with rising cases to present a negative COVID-19 test result upon entry to the city, even if the city does not happen to be their final destination.

The EOC has endorsed this recommendation to the Office of the Mayor, subject to the latter’s approval. But since Mayor Edgardo Labella is still on a medical leave, acting Mayor Michael Rama is expected to take action on the matter.

Already, the Cebu provincial government has issued a similar directive by barring travelers from Bohol and Negros island (both Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental) who could not present a negative coronavirus test upon entry into Cebu province’s borders.

The province came up with this order after recent data showed a surge in COVID-19 cases in these provinces.

If Cebu City’s recommendation would be approved, a “no test result, no entry” policy will also be enforced in the city, and that holds even if the traveler is bound for another LGU and not Cebu City.

“Once approved, it will encompass all passengers. Whether you are for Cebu City or Cebu province, basta moagi mo sa seaport diri sa Cebu City, we are requiring you to comply (with the policy),” said EOC deputy chief implementer and City Councilor Joel Garganera.

“If niabot mo diri without the necessary tests, dili panaugon, pabalikon mo. Nganong niabot man mo diri nga required man na?” he added.

EOC recommended an RT-PCR test but said that antigen test result may be accepted if the LGU of origin has no RT-PCR testing capabilities.

To strengthen the EOC’s position, Garganera cited the case of Ormoc City, which has also tightened its border controls by requiring everyone coming to the city to have negative RT-PCR or antigen test.

Garganera said the EOC just wants to remain vigilant, especially with the rising cases in the other provinces.

“Cases in the other provinces are also rising… Ang Bohol, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental, also Leyte and even Cagayan de Oro. Their cases are also rising,” he said.

Aside from these areas, the EOC is also monitoring Southern Leyte, Davao City, Manila, Zamboanga, Dipolog, Dapitan, Ozamiz, and Siquijor.

Garganera said the EOC is not solely relying on travel restrictions or quarantine classification imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force as it takes time for the latter to either upgrade or downgrade an LGU’s quarantine status.

‘On top of the situation’

Meanwhile, Garganera assured that authorities are on top of the situation amid what appears to be another cycle of increase in COVID-19 cases in Cebu City.

“Starting May 18, nisaka gyud atong mga kaso. Nisaka atong mga kaso but we’re on top of the situation,” he said.

Cebu City has once again breached the 600-mark in the number of active cases with 609 tallied on June 20. The number has further gone up following the addition of 63 new cases, 32 of which coming from an unnamed construction company.

The city has also posted its highest positivity rate since April – 9.06% out of the 695 tested.

The good news, though, is that its critical care occupancy rate remains “very safe,” albeit slightly higher than the previous days -- at 21.3% or a total of 195 hospital beds occupied.

Most of the patients in the said city are being housed in the barangay isolation centers (212), at the Cebu City Quarantine Center (54), and the rest, in hotels.

Latest data from DOH-7 showed Cebu City having 689 active cases with some of its recoveries still up for validation with the other LGUs.

Lapu-Lapu City has 198 active cases, Mandaue City has 206, and Cebu province has 507.

Cases in Negros Oriental and Bohol continue to go up, with Negros Oriental’s active cases topping 3,692 and Bohol’s cases at 1,942.

Siquijor has 29, its highest number of active cases since the pandemic started. — with Decemay P. Padilla, JMD (FREEMAN)

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