South Cotabato shuts border to outsiders due to rising number of COVID-19 cases
KORONADAL CITY –– South Cotabato has shut its borders to non-residents anew starting Tuesday as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continued to surge in the province due to the easing of travel restrictions.
Governor Reynaldo Tamayo issued the order as he noted the “impending threat” of local transmission could start wreaking havoc to the healthcare system in the province and the lives of local health frontliners.
“In a bid to curb the growing number of COVID-19 cases and to stop the spread of the disease, the province deemed it proper to curtail the movement of people going to the province by imposing a border lockdown,” he said.
However, Tamayo said persons involved in the medical profession, peace and order, rescue and COVID-19 prevention interventions, civil servants, media, public utilities, and those seeking immediate medical attention would still be allowed to come to the city.
He said the provincial government would require medical personnel and other essential workers and frontliners working outside the province to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon their return here.
Tamayo expressed fear that the fight against COVID-19 here might suffer a setback due to the dwindling supply of cartridges used for the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing at a local laboratory operated by a private hospital accredited by the Department of Health (DOH-12).
If the local laboratory would run out of cartridges, swab samples of suspected and symptomatic COVID-19 patients would have to be sent to the Cotabato Regional Medical Center in Cotabato City or to the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City, which would take days before the province get the results.
All of the six newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Soccsksargen (Region 12) as of 6 p.m. Monday came from South Cotabato, according to data from the DOH-12 Center for Health Development.
At 104 total COVID-19 cases, South Cotabato posted the highest number of cases in the region.
Sarangani followed with 73 cases; Sultan Kudarat, 71 cases; North Cotabato, 55; General Santos, 55; and Cotabato City, 44.
The region posted 402 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 103 of them active, and 294 recovered.
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