MANILA - Entry to Western Visayas, home to top tourist destination Boracay, will only be limited to essential travelers, the region’s pandemic task force said in an advisory issued Tuesday.
In the advisory, it said traveling in and out of the region will be limited to:
- Health and emergency frontline services personnel
- Government officials and frontliners
- Humanitarian assistance activities
- Persons travelling for medical or humanitarian reasons
- Persons going to the airport for traveling abroad
- Anyone crossing zones for work and business
- Returning overseas Filipinos and overseas Filipino workers.
Returning residents of Western Visayas and tourists from cities and provinces labeled under “NCR Plus” — a term coined by the government to collectively refer to those coming from Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Metro Manila — are also not allowed to enter the region, “subject to the provision of the national IATF.”
Boracay used to receive an average of 700 tourists a day the past month, with majority coming from Metro Manila, according to local government data.
But after the saliva COVID-19 testing was allowed last week as an alternative travel requirement from visitors, as many as 1,056 arrived on the island on March 19.
The regional IATF reminded workplaces to ensure strict enforcement of minimum public health standards.
Areas in the Western Visayas are currently under the modified general community quarantine, the loosest of all 4 classifications set by the government for pandemic response.
NCR Plus starting Monday was placed under general community quarantine with such additional measures as barring non-essential travel outside the area and limiting restaurant operations to takeout and delivery, to curb the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.
— With a report from Ronel Escaniel