Negros Oriental declares state of calamity, closes borders

Marchel P. Espina
Negros Oriental declares state of calamity, closes borders
This declaration effectively imposes a blockade on the whole Negros Island as both provinces here shut their borders

NEGROS ORIENTAL, Philippines – Governor Roel Degamo of this province declared a state of calamity Monday, March 16, following the widespread threat brought by the coronavirus disease pandemic.

Bimbo Miraflor, public information officer here, said the provincial government through the Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Council passed a resolution on Monday, that placed the entire province under the state of calamity.

He said this would take effect at 12:01 a.m. of Tuesday, March 17.

Earlier, Negros Occidental, the adjacent province, has also shut its borders, ports, and airports, while Bacolod City, its capital, also declared a general community quarantine.

Negros Oriental has already reported its first death due to COVID-19 on Sunday, March 15. COVID-19 is the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

The fatality, tagged as “Patient 39,” was a 64-year-old councilor from Tayasan town who travelled to Manila on February 26 to attend the Philippine Councilor’s League convention.

Miraflor also said the provincial government also closed its borders, ports, and airports effective immediately until April 14.

He said air and sea travel are banned during the effectivity of the order, adding that Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines was directed to ensure that all airports in Negros Oriental remain closed, while the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine Ports Authority were also directed to ensure that all ports in the province are closed.

Entry of persons shall be restricted except to the following:

  • All duly identified residents of Negros Oriental, its cities and municipalities;
  • Health workers responding to emergency;
  • Members of the Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fire Protection, and all branches of the Armed Forces of the Philippines;
  • Persons travelling for urgent medical or humanitarian reasons;
  • Persons transporting essential goods, supplies and medicines.

Miraflor said that returning residents of the province will be allowed entry, with or without COVID-19 symptoms, adding they are to present a valid government-issued identification card upon entry.

He said they will be checked for signs and symptoms of the infectious disease and will be required to undergo a 14-day home quarantine.

Meanwhile, the provincial government also reiterated that suspension of classes in all levels for both private and public academic institutions is still in effect and extended until further notice. – Rappler.com

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