Cebu Capitol imposes border controls

IN THE next 30 days, the Cebu Provincial Government will impose strict control over passengers arriving at airports and seaports to protect the province from the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

It will impose a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in all the towns and cities. By 12:01 a.m. of Tuesday, March 17, 2020, all domestic passengers arriving in Cebu via air travel shall be denied entry, while all seaports in the Province of Cebu will be closed to passenger travel by Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

“As we close our seaports to ingress of passengers, we are not prohibiting Cebuanos to go out of Cebu. But if they go out, they will not be able to come back in 30 days,” said Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.

Under Executive Order 5-E issued by the governor on Saturday, for a period of 30 days, domestic passengers arriving in Cebu via air travel shall be denied entry:

Effective immediately, for those coming from Dumaguete City;

Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, for those coming from Clark International Airport, Legazpi City and Cagayan de Oro City;

Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, for those originating from all other domestic airports.

“We can no longer stand idle when there is a clear and present danger,” the governor said. “Free movement of cargoes shall continue, while passengers of international flights that will be subjected to the mandatory quarantine will now include Spain. This is in addition to those who have passed by Iran and Italy, as earlier stated in an earlier executive order. Classes are suspended including college. Movie houses, cockpits, gyms, museums, cultural and sports centers will be closed and restaurants, cafés and bars shall close at 9 p.m.”

“We are looking at a full 30-day mitigation period to ensure that we shall be able to prevent the entry and, hopefully, keep out the coronavirus that is now spreading,” she said.

Earlier on Saturday, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport(MCIA) announced that all flights to and from Manila are suspended from March 15 to April 14 in view of the National Government’s declaration of the Covid-19 Code Red sub-level 2 and the implementation of a community quarantine in the National Capital Region.

However, flights in the MCIA to and from other domestic destinations will remain operational, it said.

Passengers of affected flights were advised to coordinate with their respective airlines for rebooking and other changes to flight schedules.

Sea travel

On the other hand, under Executive Order 5-F issued by Governor Garcia also on Saturday, for 30 days, domestic passengers arriving in Cebu via sea travel shall be denied entry to the Province of Cebu:

Starting Monday, March 16, 2020, for travelers arriving at Pier 1, and all seaports in Samboan and Santander;

Starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020, for travelers arriving in all seaports of Toledo, Tuburan, Tabuelan and Tangil (Dumanjug);

Starting Wednesday, March 18, 2020, for those arriving in all other seaports in the Province of Cebu.

EO 5-F exempts public officials, mlitary, navy, air force, police and health personnel on official business from the provisions of the order.

Police will be deployed in all airports and seaports to monitor arrivals and to ensure strict implementation of rules. They will also escort those who will be subjected to quarantine.

Garcia encouraged all religious leaders to practice social distancing in all their religious activities. She will meet with leaders of all religious groups on Monday.

Covid-19 cases top 100

At 9 p.m. Saturday, the Department of Health (DOH) announced 13 new Covid-19 cases in the country, bringing the total count to 111.

The agency also confirmed earlier Saturday the deaths of three more patients, bringing the death toll in the country to eight.

DOH Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said their teams were still validating the details on the new cases.

The DOH on Saturday morning announced that Patient (PH) 40, a 54-year-old Filipino male confined at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) in Cagayan de Oro City, had died from the disease.

Two other patients were reported to have died Saturday afternoon, including one at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Medical Center in San Fernando, Pampanga.

The patient at the NMMC died Friday night of acute respiratory distress syndrome due to severe pneumonia with concomitant acute kidney injury. He had no known recent travel history abroad.

Other patients who had died from the disease were PH2, a 44-year-old Chinese male; PH5, a 62-year-old Filipino male; PH6, the 59-year-old wife of PH5; PH35, a 67-year-old Filipino woman whose husband is also a Covid-19 patient; and PH37, an 88-year-old Filipina.

PH5 and PH6 were the first two confirmed cases of local transmission in the country as they had no travel history outside the country.

Health workers exposed

The DOH also reported that a high number of health personnel were exposed to a confirmed Covid-19 patient, who died at the Philippine Heart Center (PHC).

As of 2 p.m., the PHC had 13 patients under investigation (PUIs), composed of 12 health workers and one non-health employee.

Vergeire said the high number of PUIs at the PHC can be attributed to their exposure to PH37.

“Prior to the confirmation of the PH37’s diagnosis, health care workers were managing the case as a non-communicable case and were unable to wear the required personal protective equipment,” said Vergeire.

She said the PHC has now limited operations to accommodate in-patient and emergency cases only. / NJN / HDT / ANV / JKV / CAPITOL PIO / WITH A REPORT FROM RTF