The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) 8 (Eastern Visayas) has approved a resolution extending the moratorium on the return of locally stranded individuals (LSI) to Northern Samar and Biliran provinces.
IATF-EID-8 co-chairman and Department of Health (DOH) 8 Director Minerva Molon signed Resolution 5 on Friday, suspending the travel of LSIs to the two provinces until July 31.
Molon said this was approved unanimously after careful discussion during a joint meeting of the regional task force (RTF) against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and the IATF-EID-8 on July 10.
The RTF is tasked for the operations and implementation of Covid-19 related activities, while the IATF is the policymaking body for the pandemic response in the region.
The travel of LSIs to Eastern Visayas was suspended from June 26 to July 9, upon approval of the national government.
“Both provincial governments have requested the extension in view of the increasing number of cases in these areas since the arrival of returning residents, as well as their limited resources and capacity to quarantine them,” she added.
Based on the DOH monitoring report, as of July 8, a total of 16 LSIs in Biliran and 18 in Northern Samar have tested positive for the virus.
These LSIs began returning to their respective home provinces, mostly from Metro Manila and Cebu, on June 1 after the central government downgraded the movement restriction status from enhanced community quarantine to general community quarantine.
“The two provinces have no Level 3 health care facility, limited hospital beds, fewer health workers and professionals, as well as supplies for Covid-19, that the local health system would be easily overwhelmed in the event of (a) surge (in) coronavirus cases,” Molon said.
Since the outbreak, Eastern Visayas has confirmed 625 cases, including 520 recoveries and three deaths in Leyte, Biliran, and Samar. (PNA)