EOC sees urgency of tightening border controls in ports

By: Dyrecka Letigio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | July 01,2021 - 05:44 PM
Cebu City EOC chief says the city government should tighten border controls amid the rise of cases in surrounding provinces. In photo is Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, who is the city's EOC chief.

Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, city’s Emergency Operation’s Center head, sees the need to strengthen border controls at the city’s seaports as a precaution against COVID-19 with rise of cases in surrounding provinces. | CDN Digital file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) sees an urgency to impose stricter protocols for arriving travelers by requiring them to present a negative COVID-19 test result prior to departure.

Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementor of the EOC, told reporters that he had appealed once more to Mayor Edgardo Labella to revise the requirements for incoming travelers due to the rise of cases in surrounding provinces in Central Visayas.

He notes the city is experiencing a slight rise in COVID-19 cases with 88 new cases recorded on June 30, 2021. According to EOC data, the daily positivity rate has reached 6.12 percent as well.

“(I) Hope the Mayor will issue an executive order, this is urgent. For the past 1 week, our average daily positivity rate is 6.12 percent. Our cases here in Cebu City is increasing and if we are not one in halting this, it could be a problem. Strengthen our border control since our neighboring provinces are experiencing a rise in their COVID positive cases,” said Garganera.

In the proposed revision for the guidelines for entry to ports within Cebu City, the EOC requires travelers to present a negative real time polymerase chain reaction test (RT-PCR) test taken within 72 hours from departure or a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) taken within 48 hours of departure.

There will no longer be barangay monitoring or travel permits required and the negative test results will suffice subject to health screening upon arrival in the port.

Government-authorized personnel outside of residence (APOR) will not be subject to the same requirements and instead be screened after arrival.

Government APORs must also present their mission or travel order from their government agency.

For those coming from areas under enhanced or modified enhanced community quarantines, they will need to undergo an RT-PCR test upon arrival at any Cebu City port even if they are able to provide a negative RAT test.

READ: EOC proposed revisions for Cebu City bound travellers

Garganera said there was a renewed urgency to the policy especially that Cebu City also recorded 11 deaths in the month of June 2021, of which six are senior citizens, and all were unvaccinated.

Three of the senior citizens died of preexisting illnesses but proved positive to COVID-19 upon tests, while the other three died of the severe form of the COVID-19.

“Kinsay dili mabalaka nga we are surrounded by provinces who are experiencing a rise in cases. So there is really a need to strengthen our border control. Records would say nga ubay-ubay na sa mga naswab nato sa seaports nga nipositive,” said Garganera.

(Who would not be worried because we are surrounded by provinces, who are experiencing a rise in cases. So there is really a need to strengthen our border control. Records would show that we had swabbed quite a number at our seaports that had turned out positive of the virus.)

The councilor hopes that the mayor would immediately impose the proposed border controls to avoid another surge of cases in the city.

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/dbs

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TAGS: Cebu City Emergency Operations Center, EOC, Garganera, stricter protocols for arriving travelers
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