(Editor's note: An earlier version of this story erroneously said Negros Oriental closed its entry points. The measure was implemented by Negros Occidental. We regret the error.)
MANILA - The provincial government of Negros Occidental closed its borders, ports, and airports to travelers on Sunday until April 14, 2020 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the province.
In an executive order, Gov. Jose Lacson ordered authorities to deny entry to Negros Occidental non-residents, with or without symptoms of COVID-19, at the province's borders.
Bus drivers and operators in Negros Occidental "are required to refrain" from crossing borders of the province. They should also check all passengers for COVID-19 symptoms and their temperature before they buy their tickets.
All air and sea travel to Negros Occidental are also banned. The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines will be guarding the airports in the province, while the Philippine Ports Authority and the Philippine Coast Guard will monitor the seaports.
Residents are allowed to return, but they should show proof of residence through a government-issued ID, and be checked for signs and symptoms of the coronavirus.
They should also undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine, be endorsed to the barangay or local government unit where they reside, and monitored by local officials.
If a returning resident has symptoms, he/she will be considered a person under investigation and will be interviewed, assessed and fill up a health information form, before being sent to quarantine. If he/she has any companions, they will be considered persons under monitoring (PUM) and and also isolated.
Exempted from the travel ban are health workers responding to emergency, police and military personnel, persons traveling for medical and humanitarian concerns, and individuals transporting essential goods, medicines and other supplies.
Earlier, a councilor of Tayasan, Negros Oriental infected with COVID-19 died, a health official said.
The local official, set to be cremated Sunday, likely died from multiple organ failure, according to Mark Angelo Llosa, chief of Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital.
At least 140 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the Philippines, 12 of whom died, as of Sunday.