Año suspends travel of stranded persons to Eastern Visayas
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Thursday said he accepted the proposal of the local government officials from Eastern Visayas region to suspend the travel of locally stranded individuals to prepare isolation facilities for them.
During the Laging Handa virtual briefing, Año said the region recorded a sudden spike of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the last days.
“A total of 431 cases where 392 were active cases… infected doctors and nurses also reached 80 and we saw that this came from locally stranded individuals and OFW (overseas Filipino workers),” the secretary said.
He said out of the 431 COVID-19 positive cases in the region, locally stranded individuals accounted for 218.
“That’s why the local government officials request to have a suspension on the arrival of locally stranded individuals in Region 8 while they are determining the isolation facilities… right now all their isolation facilities are full,” Año said.
“Their problem now is if the locally stranded individuals arrive they don’t know how to quarantine them. They don’t want them to undergo home quarantine as they might violate quarantine protocols. So I am going to accept their proposal,” he added.
Año said all locally stranded individuals bound for the region will be held for 14 days before they will be brought back home using government vessels.
According to Police Lt. General Guillermo Eleazar, Joint Task Force COVID Shield commander, he instructed all police commanders to defer issuing travel authority to locally stranded individuals bound for any part of Eastern Visayas for two weeks.
Eleazar said the instruction was based on Año's order.
“According to our SILG Año, the isolation facilities of these Local Government Units (LGUs) are still full and they want to unclog these facilities first before they accept new batches of locally stranded individuals,” he said.
Officials of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 visited Eastern Visayas Wednesday and met with local officials to discuss concerns and map out strategies to address the rising number of coronavirus infections in the region.
LGUs have been implementing their respective quarantine protocols for the arriving locally stranded individuals to protect their respective constituents from the coronavirus which might have been carried by asymptomatic persons.
The NTF Against COVID-19, through the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) and the JTF COVID Shield, has also implemented measures to protect the LGU-destinations by requiring locally stranded individuals to get a travel authority first.
The two major requirements are a medical clearance certificate and coordination with the LGU-destination.
Eleazar said they will wait for the advice of the NTF Against COVID when locally stranded individuals can travel to Eastern Visayas. Ella Dionisio/DMS