Eastern Visayas shuts doors to returnees | Inquirer News

Eastern Visayas shuts doors to returnees

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, Philippnes — Eastern Visayas has temporarily closed its borders to arriving residents amid a surge in the number of new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the region.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government in Eastern Visayas (DILG-8) said in an advisory that the region has stopped the entry of returnees for two weeks starting last Friday.


“We advise LSIs (locally stranded individuals) who are bound for provinces in Eastern Visayas not to proceed to our seaports in order to avoid being stranded again. We ask them to coordinate with their receiving LGUs (local government units) for further instructions or advice,” it said.

Eastern Visayas, which is composed of the provinces of Leyte, Southern Leyte, Biliran, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar and Samar, is the latest region or locality across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao that has imposed stricter border controls or has suspended the entry of returning residents, particularly those coming from Metro Manila. Officially called LSIs, the returnees had been blamed for the rise of COVID-19 cases in their hometowns.


On Sunday, Eastern Visayas recorded 205 fresh cases of COVID-19, the biggest single-day tally in the region since the pandemic started. The region currently has 2,931 COVID-19 cases, most of which are in Tacloban City, the regional capital.

Dr. Gloria Fabrigas, the city’s health officer, said that of their 100 new cases, 24 involved health-care workers.

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier declared a local transmission of the virus in Tacloban, prompting Mayor Alfred Romualdez to place the city under a general community quarantine for 15 days starting on Aug. 24 to contain the spread of the virus.

Cases dropped in Cebu

In Cebu City, stringent quarantine measures supervised by the national government has resulted to a major drop in virus cases.

The DOH recorded only 22 new cases in the city on Saturday. In June, the city registered 100 to 200 cases per day.

As of Saturday, Cebu City has 9,601 COVID-19 infections, with 618 active cases, 8,334 recoveries, and 649 deaths.

The city is expected to be placed under the less restrictive modified community quarantine (MGCQ) by Sept. 1 but Mayor Edgardo Labella expressed reservations about the quarantine mode.


“An MGCQ for the city has a corresponding disadvantage. Until now, I do not quite agree if this should be done: opening of theaters, movie houses, and concerts,” he said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has yet to announce whether or not to extend the city’s current quarantine status.

If Cebu City will be placed under MGCQ, Labella said he would still retain the use of the quarantine passes to limit the movement of residents in public spaces.

At present, movement under GCQ is limited to getting essential goods and services, and work in the offices or industries permitted to operate. Under MGCQ, movement goes back to normal but mask-wearing, physical distancing and other health protocols will be enforced. Work also resumes in the private and public sector at 100-percent capacity but with enforcement of the health measures.

In Quezon province, officials also grappled with rising COVID-19 cases, with even remote island-towns now recording their first virus infections.

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