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Travelers to Negros Oriental slow down

The number of travelers coming to Negros Oriental has dropped due to stringent measures undertaken by the government, particularly at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Metro Manila, where flights bound for the Dumaguete-Sibulan airport originate, a local health official said yesterday.

Assistant Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Liland Estacion, however, did not give specific numbers while noting the slowdown in inbound travel starting this week.

In a virtual press briefing, Estacion said screening for outbound passengers at NAIA has been tight and only those on essential travel have been allowed to leave.

Non-essential travel, even if the passengers have already booked their flights, has not been allowed to depart from the domestic airport in Metro Manila to other destinations in the country, she said.

“We were told that there is rigid screening already in Metro Manila. If you travel only for leisure, you will be barred from boarding the aircraft,” Estacion said in mixed Cebuano and English.

This comes as the Department of Health has tagged the National Capital Region as high-risk amid the continuing spike in Covid-19 cases.

Estacion said many of the province’s recent Covid-19-positive cases involved returning residents.

Following the easing of restrictions and the opening of borders, travelers to Negros Oriental are now only required to present a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result before departure.

Upon arrival here, Estacion said a joint screening team at the different entry points, such as the airport and seaports, assess them for symptoms.

While they are no longer required to undergo quarantine, barangay officials are asked to help monitor the new arrivals, she said, to prevent a surge in infections in the province.

In recent weeks, Negros Oriental has reported a decline in the number of active positive cases from a high of more than 200 infections a day to as low as more or less 50.

Estacion reiterated to the public to strictly observe the minimum health and safety protocols to sustain this trend.*PNA

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