Top tourist site Siquijor stands out as only province with zero COVID-19 case in Central Visayas
DUMAGUETE CITY—One of the country’s best tourist destinations, Siquijor province, could also be the only one shining out for a rare achievement in a time of pandemic—zero COVID-19 case in a region where infections are surging.
The Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas said while the rest of the region are seeing spikes in coronavirus infections, Siquijor remains free of the virus that causes COVID-19.
As of July 5, the DOH said, there are 10,273 COVID-19 cases in the region.
Siquijor has zero case, the only province in the region that has not been infected with the virus.
Cindy Bonchita, Dumaguete-based journalist, attributed the record to the Siquijor local government’s “ardent adherence” to health protocols, particularly those for stranded individuals, like her, and overseas Filipino workers wanting to return to the province.
Bonachita tried to enter Siquijor on Friday (July 3), but was denied entry after authorities learned that her medical certificate was past the 24-hour validity period which was required by the provincial government.
Aside from Bonachita, a manager of a fast food chain was also denied entry into the province because she lacked a coordination permit.
Bonachita, who hails from Larena town, only got to see her home province for 30 minutes before she was sent back to Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental to comply with medical requirements.
“They’re so strict. Despite what happened to me today, you make me proud. Keep it up,” she said on a Facebook post about her experience that has since gone viral.
The following documents are required to enter Siquijor: a barangay certification valid 14 days before travel date, medical certificate, a travel authority from Joint Task Force COVID Shield, and a coordination permit from the province of Siquijor.
Neighboring Negros Oriental, meanwhile, has also tightened its health protocols for incoming arrivals, as regular flights and sea trips are now allowed in the province under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
This was resolved by the provincial Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) in a meeting with Negros Oriental’s mayors on Friday (July 3).
Persons entering Negros Oriental must now secure a negative coronavirus test result, a certificate of acceptance from the receiving local government unit (LGU), and plane or ship tickets. This is on top of the medical certificate and the Joint Task Force COVID Shield travel authority required by the national government.
Incoming passengers must also undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Negros Oriental.
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