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Leyte mayors heave sigh of relief at pause in stranded persons’ return

/ 08:26 PM June 26, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY—Mayors in Leyte heaved a sigh of relief and welcomed the pause in issuance of travel authority to stranded individuals, saying it would help stop coronavirus transmission in the province.

Mayor Ma. Rosario Avestruz, of Barugo town, the spokesperson of the League of Mayors-Leyte Chapter, said the mayors were happy that their request to suspend the travel of stranded individuals was approved by Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.

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“This lifting, though temporary, will really help us local government units as we are already overwhelmed,” said Avestruz in a phone interview.

Barugo has two COVID-19 cases. At least 110 stranded individuals are now isolated in the town’s quarantine facilities.

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Avestruz said suspending the travel of stranded individuals would also help local government units “in terms of funding because we are allocating funds for the daily meals of these people.”

While the mayors wanted to welcome returning individuals, she said this should not be done while the localities are still grappling with the impacts of the pandemic.

The return of stranded individuals and overseas workers has contributed to the dramatic increase of COVID-19 cases in Leyte.

As of June 26, Leyte has 224 COVID-19 cases, majority of them were stranded individuals, overseas workers and those who availed themselves of the government’s Balik Probinsya program.

The regional office of the Department of Health (DOH) recorded 16 new cases of COVID-19. Of the number, 13 were stranded individuals.

The region currently has 467 COVID-19 cases.

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