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Negros to accept travelers with expired RT-PCR: Diaz

BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

Inbound travelers to Negros Occidental with expired negative RT-PCR test results need not worry since they will still be allowed entry in the airport and seaports of the province, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said yesterday.

“They will still be accepted upon entry as the provincial government is offering free swab tests to ensure their safety and that their families,” Diaz said.

They have to voluntarily submit to swabbing, Diaz said, and he encouraged them not to undergo testing anymore from their point of origin.

“If the Covid-19 cases are not rising, and we did not trace this to new arrivals, why will we go to the extent of making our frontliners closely monitor and have them swabbed at the airports and seaports?” he asked.

This is a job we have to do. Whether the national government believes in us, we will try to do it in a way that is voluntary, Diaz said and added that he hopes for understanding from passengers.

“No amount of contact tracing, identification and isolation, testing and cure…it will not end if those arriving will not be screened and tested,” he added.

Diaz said they are testing an average of more than 1,000 daily, compared to the 100 to 300 persons tested before the spike of cases after IATF Resolution 101 was implemented on March 15, where mandatory testing and quarantine were no longer required for passengers upon arrival.

WORSE THAN BEFORE

“With the closure of some hospitals and resorts, where will this lead us? This is not economic recovery. This is worse than before,” Diaz said.

He assured the release of Covid-19 test results in 24 hours, adding that swabbing teams and molecular laboratories are instructed to prioritize the samples taken from ports and airport.

Pending the release of test results, travelers will be fetched from the airport and seaports by their respective local government units for quarantine. Pickup by private vehicles is strictly prohibited, he added.

Diaz said he informed all airlines and shipping vessel operators bound for Negros Occidental that the province will now accept passengers, whose names appear in their manifests and have been endorsed by the destination LGUs, after the travel moratorium to Region 6 was lifted Monday.

He also advised inbound travelers to coordinate with their destination LGUs and secure the S-Pass and verified StaySafe account.

HEALTH WORKERS VACCINATION

Diaz also said the demand for vaccines is around 20,000, but the allocation was only 12,000, so only 6,000 can be inoculated.

With so many senior citizens who volunteered to be vaccinated, he said the demand for vaccines in the A1 category is 258,831, all over Negros Occidental.

The combined Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccine allocation is 12,044, of which 9.910 had already been utilized, with the balance allocated for the second dose to be administered soon, Diaz said. He added that 3,929 health workers have completed their two doses of vaccine against the coronavirus disease 2019.*

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