Extension of travel ban in Western Visayas sought
ILOILO CITY—Local officials in Western Visayas are seeking a weeklong extension of the suspension of flights and trips to the region from areas where COVID-19 infections are surging.
Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said mayors and governors met on April 8 and agreed to ask the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to extend the suspension of land and sea trips and flights from Metro Manila, its four neighboring provinces in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) region, and the cities of Cebu and Davao from April 11 to April 17.
The travel restriction excludes returning overseas Filipino workers, according to Treñas’ letter to the IATF on behalf of officials of the provinces and highly urbanized cities in the region. The IATF earlier approved the suspension of trips and flights to the region from April 4 to April 10.
Metro Manila and the provinces of Laguna, Bulacan, Cavite and Rizal were placed on lockdown initially from March 29 to April 4. The strictest quarantine in these areas, known as the National Capital Region Plus, was extended for a week until April 11 as COVID-19 cases kept rising.
Western Visayas has also been experiencing a sharp increase in infections with 264 new COVID-19 cases recorded on April 7, bringing the total cases in the region to 28,638. The region has 2,219 active cases and logged 795 deaths.
Antique province is among the areas experiencing a surge in cases. The provincial government earlier sought the closure of its borders but the IATF disapproved the request.
In Aklan province, Boracay Island’s Barangay Balabag and parts of Manoc-Manoc village are under lockdown due to a local outbreak. As local governments prepare for mass inoculation in the next months, Treñas appealed to Ilonggos to register in their respective barangays to help prepare the supply of vaccine doses.
Out of a target of 320,000, only about 59,000 had registered as of Tuesday.
“We need your names in the registration because we cannot give vaccines to those who have not registered,” he said in a statement.
University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) chancellor Clement Camposano also raised concerns over the low registration figure.
“The low level of acceptance is truly disturbing. Our country is being ravaged by this virus for over a year now and now that vaccines are starting to become available, many people do not want to be vaccinated. They need to understand that getting themselves vaccinated is their civic duty,” Camposano said in a statement.
UPV along with medical practitioners and private individuals last month launched Bakuna Iloilo, an information campaign to raise awareness on vaccines and the safety and necessity of vaccination.
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