BACOLOD CITY – Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson has requested the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to approve a travel moratorium for all land, air, and sea travels to Negros Occidental for two weeks.
Lacson made the request in a communication sent to Health Secretary Francisco and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles, IATF chairperson and co-chairperson, respectively, on Sunday afternoon after coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in the province started to go up again in the past week.
“I believe that this is imperative in order to protect our constituents, our local economy, and our future as a province. If I stand idly, I fear that our gains in the past year will be put to waste, to the detriment of our people,” Lacson told the two officials.
Lacson’s letter-request was accompanied by graphic illustrations and figures showing that the introduction of the uniform travel protocols on March 15, based on IATF Resolution 101, has resulted in an increased number of Covid-19 cases in Negros Occidental.
“Prior to the adoption of Resolution 101, our provincial health and travel protocols were able to manage the spread of the virus in the local communities. Component local government units (LGUs) were able to report zero to 10 confirmed cases in their jurisdiction on Feb. 23 with the exception of Silay, which reported 13,” Lacson said.
However, he said the introduction of uniform travel protocols resulted in an increasing number of confirmed cases in many LGUs, specifically Manapla, Cadiz, Sagay, Escalante, Calatrava, San Carlos, and Sipalay.
Also, turned-in results from the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital Molecular Laboratory showed an “alarming rise” in positivity rate to 5.95 percent from March 15 to 20, with locally-stranded individuals logging 8.52 percent and domestic cases at 4.91 percent, he added.
“Furthermore, our daily census submitted by our quarantine administrator for E.B. Magalona Healing Center showed there is a drastic increase of Covid-19 cases from 22 individuals on Feb. 23 to 111 on March 20. Evidence suggests that the increase of domestic cases is directly proportional to the number of confirmed cases among LSIs (locally stranded individuals),” Lacson said.
Data showed that as of Feb. 23, there were only 19 confirmed cases involving LSIs and one domestic case. But by March 20, there were already 89 LSIs and 19 domestic cases in the active cases list.
Lacson also said the provincial quarantine facility for Covid-19 confirmed cases with mild symptoms is nearly reaching its maximum capacity.
During the period March 27, 2020 to March 18, 2021, Negros Occidental recorded 7,101 confirmed cases, of which 6,651 have recovered while there were 218 deaths, the latest data released by the Provincial Incident Management Team showed. (PNA)