By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Negros Occidental provincial administrator said they have ordered the provincial government-run molecular laboratories to prioritize the swab samples of all incoming passengers at the airports and seaports as the travel moratorium in Western Visayas was lifted yesterday.
Atty. Rayfrando Diaz said these molecular laboratories must release the results of the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests within 24 hours only. Because of this medical technicians are now working round the clock in order to not bring inconvenience to travelers.
The local government units (LGUs), meanwhile, are requesting if they could be the one to pick up the passengers in order to make sure that proper monitoring and turnover can be accomplished.
But Diaz said they need to simplify the logistical challenges of contact tracing by picking up the passengers at the point of entry.
The provincial administrator also advised travelers who have expired 72-hour RT-PCR test results to no longer get another test and instead submit themselves to a free swab test upon their arrival in the province, adding they will still accept them.
“We have to do this, otherwise no matter our efforts in contact tracing, identify, test, and cure this problem will not end if we don’t screen passengers,” he said.
Earlier, the Provincial Incident Management Team (PIMT) of Negros Occidental reminded returning Negrenses and authorized persons outside residence that they are required to submit themselves to RT-PCR test and 24-hour quarantine if they have expired test results upon arrival.
PIMT head Dr. Zeaphard Caelian made the emphasis as the province reopened its airports and seaports to passenger traffic following the expiry of the travel moratorium.
Caelian said the province will observe Resolution 101 of the National Inter-Agency Task Force which only required a negative RT-PCR test result 72 hours before travel.
He also reiterated that S-Pass and Stay Safe apps are required for travelers./DGB, WDJ