Cebu to close borders for 30 days vs COVID-19 threat

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 16 2020 11:05 AM | Updated as of Mar 16 2020 12:22 PM

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MANILA (UPDATE) - The province of Cebu on Tuesday will close its border from the rest of the country, with the exception of cargo delivery, for 30 days in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19, its governor said Monday.

In an executive order signed over the weekend, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia prohibited the entry of travelers from all domestic airports and seaports starting Tuesday.

Passengers from Manila, Dumaguete City, Clark International Airport, Legazpi City, and Cagayan de Oro City were banned earlier.

Garcia said the province "anticipated" flights to be diverted to Cebu following the month-long community quarantine of Metro Manila.

"We anticipated that. Wala na 'yung flights sa Metro Manila at 12 midnight (Sunday), lahat pupunta dito sa Cebu. 'Yung Metro Manila residents are considered PUM (persons under monitoring) kaya kailangan namin put in safety net dito," she told radio DZMM.

Foreigners who arrive aboard international flights will be subjected to a 14-day quarantine, while Filipinos and holders of permanent resident visa will be recommended for home quarantine, Garcia added.

The province also implemented a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., while malls, restaurants, and bars were ordered to close by 9 p.m., according to the local government's official Facebook page.

As of Monday morning, checkpoints, where travelers were subjected to thermal checks, were mounted in several parts of the Visayan province.

Police and military officials flagged cars and public utility vehicles, while health personnel took the temperature of individuals bound for Cebu City. Those with temperatures above 37.5-degrees Celsius were sent to hospitals for further examination.

“We are doing this to monitor all those who are entering, especially that there might be those coming from Manila or Negros Oriental where cases are confirmed,” said Cebu city Councilor Dave Tumulak in dialect. 

Cebu City's ports were also closed to passengers.

Several other towns, cities and provinces have imposed community quarantine in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus.

As of Sunday, there are 140 cases of COVID-19 in the country, including 12 fatalities.