Sarangani, Gensan impose border controls as COVID-19 cases rise
GENERAL SANTOS CITY –– Authorities in this city and Sarangani province have come up with stricter border control measures to stem the rise of COVID-19 infections.
Both local governments want to limit travels in and out of their jurisdictions only for those with essential purposes.
The restrictions started on May 8 and will last until May 31.
As of May 11, Sarangani had 205 active cases while General Santos City had 254. Four weeks ago, Sarangani only had 36 patients while General Santos City had 76.
General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera noted that the increase of cases in the city is due to virus transmission within households, prompting the local government to recalibrate its strategy to control the spread of infections.
Sarangani information chief Serafin Ramos Jr. also noted the surge of COVID-19 cases in other parts of the Soccsksargen region comprising of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, and Kidapawan cities, and Sultan Kudarat, Cotabato, South Cotabato, and Sarangani provinces.
Ramos said tourism establishments in the province require guests to submit the negative result of either antigen or reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.
Starting May 8, Sarangani allowed only travels related to work, availment of medical services, purchase of goods and supplies, and others with vital purposes that were approved by the local inter-agency task force against COVID-19.
In entering the province, checkpoints will scan individual QR codes, require company identification cards for essential workers, medical referrals for those availing themselves of medical services, and other documents or proof that the travel is necessary.
Ramos said that during the duration of the border control measures, they would have the chance to test all suspected cases in the province and their direct contacts, isolate them for treatment, and stop them from infecting others.
Travelers from outside the Soccsksargen region will be required to present a negative result of an RT-PCR test.
Rivera said travelers from outside the region would also be required to undertake a seven-day isolation period, especially those coming from high-risk areas like Metro Manila.
The same would be required for those who have traveled by air and landed in nearby airports and entered the city by land, he added.
While it is quite expensive and discomforting to travelers, Rivera said this is necessary to curb COVID-19 cases and protect residents from infections.
General Santos is the gateway to Region 12 via air travel.
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