Is Guimaras COVID-free? DOH says ‘no’; governor says ‘yes’

first_imgThe Guimarasnon patient was from Italy. He and four other Guimarasnon OFWs were tested immediately upon disembarking here from the ship that transported them from Manila. The OFW – a 27-year-old seaman and resident of Buenavista, Guimaras – was one of the 266 stranded Ilonggo overseas workers who returned to the region from Metro Manila on April 29. Only returning residents who had the occasion to enter the province beginning March 15 and who do not exhibit symptoms referable to COVID-19 are allowed entry but shall comply with the mandatory quarantine regulations. The Guimaras OFW is the region’s COVID-19 Patient No. 72. For months since the pandemic broke out, the provincial government of Guimaras has kept SARS-CoV-2 at bay. Guimaras is under general community quarantine (GCQ) until May 15. It is one of the provinces classified by the national government as “low risk” in the spread of COVID-19. Only the roll on, roll off wharves in Jordan and Buenavista towns are being used as ports of entry to Guimaras. The governor clarified, however, that his provincial government is not shirking from its responsibility to take care all the returning Guimaras OFWs. However, Gumarin said, stricter border control remains. “Indi nami” (not good) was how he described DOH-6’s move. An “inbound pass” is issued for non-residents who enter Guimaras. This Guimarasnon, however, has yet to return to his home province. He is currently on quarantine at a hotel in Iloilo City, stressed Gov. Samuel Gumarin. The no dine-in policy is observed for the food establishments in the province. ILOILO City – The provincial government of Guimaras is protesting the Department of Health (DOH) Region 6’s decision to count as the island province’s first confirmed case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who tested positive for the illness here. Government health workers and those who are in law enforcement rendering services in Guimaras, those rendering essential or professional services and other government employees authorized by the provincial government are also granted entry. “We’re being reported as having a COVID-19 case even if the patient has not set foot on Guimaras,” lamented Gumarin. “Kon diri tani nag-positive, may rason nga i-label sia nga confirmed case sang Guimaras,” said Gumarin. He urged DOH to be more circumspect.center_img GUIMARAS UNDER GCQ BUT… DOH listed Patient No. 72 as Guimaras’ first COVID-9 case in its Bulletin No. 37 issued on May 2. The Puyo Wharf in the municipality of Nueva Valencia is open but only for cargoes and delivery of products from outside Guimaras. Tricycles are allowed to operate from 6 a.m. until 5 p.m. but only with one passenger . However, hospitals and funeral parlors shall are allowed to operate for 24 hours. “Will DOH list as COVID cases of Guimaras, too, other Guimarasnons who test positive in other areas of the Philippines?” asked Gumarin. Public transportation is allowed to operate from 6 a.m. until 5 p.m. only, and strict physical distancing will be observed. To avoid “misconceptions”, according to Gumarin, DOH should have indicated in the bulletin that the patient was on quarantine in Iloilo City and had not set foot yet on Guimaras. The test results of the four others were yet to be released. Trips of motorbancas plying the Guimaras-Iloilo route vice versa are only be from 6 a.m. until 4 p.m. Essential business establishments such as market, groceries / convenience stores, sari-sari stores, pharmacies, gasoline stations, water refilling stations, banks, money centers, clinics, health facility, construction supplies, motorcycle / auto supplies, agricultural / poultry supplies, food establishments, public utilities, barber shops, salons are allowed to open from 6 a.m. until 3 p.m. Outbound travels of Guimarasnons are still limited with only medical referrals, emergency cases and cases that are determined by the provincial government to be meritorious (a valid identification card and outbound / quarantine pass are required). For non-residents who leave the island, only those with an outbound pass are permitted. In effect, Gumarin said, his province remains free from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Non-residents of the island are only allowed entry if the purpose of travel is to transport basic commodities and necessities; or emergency cases; or some cases deemed reasonable by the provincial government. Motorcycles are prohibited for public conveyances but can be used for private purposes and only one backrider is allowed./PNlast_img

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