Wary of COVID-19 spreading, Batanes issues conditional travel ban

Harris Julio, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 13 2020 12:43 AM

Those allowed to enter will undergo quarantine

Provincial officials on Thursday imposed a travel ban to Batanes to combat the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In an advisory signed by acting Governor Ignacio Villa, travelers will be denied entry to Batanes from March 16 to April 16, whether they are Filipinos or foreigners.

Residents are exempted from the ban. Others who need to enter Batanes "to fulfill a lawful obligation or address an urgent issue of national interest" are also allowed entry, but only if checked by a provincial health officer, the advisory said.

But those who are exempted need to show proof of residence, such as voter's ID, postal ID, barangay certification or school ID. They also need to show documents of their travel history and health condition.

Those allowed to enter Batanes must first undergo quarantine. Authorities said these procedures will be in effect until the Philippines lifts its state of public health emergency.

Wary of COVID-19 spreading, Batanes issues conditional travel ban 1

Those who will defy the advisory will face charges of violating Republic Act 11332 or Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Effects of Public Health Concern Act.

Villa urged senior citizens, pregnant women and those with health conditions not to leave Batanes. The acting governor also ordered the suspension of huge gatherings to avoid mass infection.