Lorenzana: Return of LSIs to parts of Visayas suspended for 2 weeks
MANILA, Philippines — The return of locally-stranded individuals (LSIs) to parts of the Visayas will be suspended for two weeks, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed on Sunday.
In a message to reporters, Lorenzana said he approved the suspension following the request of some local government units (LGUs).
“I approve a suspension of LSI repatriation to Region 6 and 8 for two weeks starting today,” he said.
“Negros [Occidental] and Iloilo plus Region 8. Bacolod and Iloilo being the main ports and seaports that receive these LSIs. For Region 8, the whole region because apart from air and water transport, it also gets LSIs by land transport,” he added.
The defense chief said the government had to enforce a temporary suspension of the repatriation of LSIs because they “are the ones bringing the virus to the provinces.”
“The data from Bacolod and Iloilo City bear this out. The LGUs asked for the suspension. We will have to come up with a better procedure to prevent this from happening,” he said.
Lorenzana said the LSIs would “have to wait where they are” following the approval of the suspension.
“They should not go to the airport or seaport. We have to get the LGUs to agree to receive them. Their problem is that their quarantine facilities are limited and they don’t want to be overwhelmed,” he added.
Local officials have earlier complained that some returning residents had tested positive for COVID-19, leading to a rise in infections in their areas.
To date, Philippine health authorities have confirmed over 34,800 COVID-19 cases in the country. Of the number, 9,430 have recovered while 1,236 have died from the disease.
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