Strict border controls back in Zambales

IBA, Zambales — Following a resurgence in the number of Covid-19 infections among residents of Zambales last week, Gov. Hermogenes E. Ebdane Jr. has ordered local government units and authorities here to re-impose strict border controls to keep the virus at bay.

In a memorandum to mayors of the 13 municipalities here, Ebdane said there is a need to monitor travelers coming in and going out of the province and to require health certificates among travelers immediately.

The order was also given to the provincial police command, the Provincial Health Office, and the Provincial Repatriation Committee, which is in charge of assisting returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

“There is a need to revive strict border controls because of the new cases that came up,” the governor said on Friday. “I admit we did relax a little, probably because of the euphoria in having zero Covid-19 cases for quite a while, but this latest surge must be arrested quickly,” Ebdane also said.

Citing records from the Provincial Health Office (PHO), Ebdane said that Covid-19 cases were already declining in June when not one new case was recorded for up to two weeks at a stretch.

“But when border controls were eased down when Zambales was placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), new cases began to rise,” Ebdane noted.

“From zero active case on July 1, we recorded three new cases on July 4; one on July 5; one on July 10; one on July 13; one on July 14; one on July 15; two on July 17; one on July 20; five on July 22; and another two on July 24,” Ebdane said.

The governor explained that all the recent cases of infected individuals are newly-arrived residents, repatriated OFWs, or persons who recently travelled to areas with high Covid-19 incidence. However, Ebdane said that reports reaching his office indicated that some travelers from general community quarantine (GCQ) areas did not declare the truth about their places of origin.

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