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TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, June 27 (PIA) -- Secretary Eduardo Año of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has approved to temporarily suspend the return of Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) to Region 8 in response to a joint resolution submitted by the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (RIATF-MEID) and the Regional Task Force for COVID-19.

The joint resolution stated that the implementation of the temporary suspension of inbound travel by land, sea or air, of LSIs will take effect 12:01 a.m. of June 28 to 12 midnight of July 9 while outbound travel from Region 8 to other parts of the country as well as entry of returning Overseas Filipinos to the region shall be allowed provided that required documents are complete.

During the recent visit of DILG Secretary Año and Chief Implementer of the Inter-Agency Task Force for COVID-19 Secretary Carlito Galvez in Eastern Visayas, local government units in Eastern Visayas have aired their concerns to the national officials as many quarantine facilities are already full.



TACLOBAN CITY, June 25 (PIA) -- Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez informed Taclobanons that there is no need to panic amid the increasing number of COVID-19 in the city, but cooperate instead and strictly observe the health protocols prescribed by the Department of Health, to avoid the spread of the disease.

“There is no need to panic as we have done the necessary protocols so as to manage the cases. The city has provided a hotel as isolation facility for the medical workers of the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center or EVRMC. This is our assistance to the said health institution, considering that most of the health workers who tested positive of the virus are residents of the city,” Mayor Romualdez said in a press briefing.

Romualdez added that the families of the affected health workers were already tested and almost 99 percent of them got negative results.

He said the city has also assigned a quarantine facility for the frontliners of the Tacloban City Health Office, adding that no cases of the city’s health workers have been noted.

Romualdez said they also contracted another hotel and have utilized two evacuation centers as quarantine facilities for the returning Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) who have no capacity for home quarantine.



PALO, Leyte, June 20 (PIA) -- The Department of Health in Eastern Visayas (DOH-8) warned that if the trend continues,  there is a big possibility that COVID-19 cases in the region will double in two-weeks’ time.

In an Advisory, DOH-8 said when that happens, the health systems might be overwhelmed as patients will either be in a hospital or at a quarantine facility for 14 days which will also deplete resouces especially Human Resource.

To prevent this scenario from happening, the health department in the region is calling  for everyone’s cooperation. Adherence by everyone to health protocols is a must.

Adhere to the strict isolation and  quarantine protocols. Those who have symptoms must isolate themselves and quarantine those who are asymptomatic but with known exposure.  Those who belong to the vulnerable group or elderly, high-risk pregnancy and persons with comorbidities or pre-existing conditions, must be admitted to a health facility.

In order to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19, and to break the chain of transmission, everyone must be cautious, practice minimum health standards and adapt to the “New Normal” by practicing frequent hand washing with soap and water for 20 seconds, proper wearing of facemask, observing physical distancing for at least one meter, proper cough etiquette, and avoiding crowded places and mass gatherings or physical close interaction.



TACLOBAN CITY, June 22 (PIA) -- All Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) should undergo RT-PCR/COVID-19 confirmatory test before going home to Eastern Visayas.

This was among the suggestions given by the provincial LCEs in a virtual meeting among the Eastern Visayas governors and the Region 8 IATF on COVID-19 on June 18, hosted by the Department of the Interior and Local Government 8 (DILG-8).

The governors, who shared their insights and suggestions to strengthen government efforts against COVID 19 in the region, noted that LSIs constitute the bulk of confirmed COVID positive in the region as only health certificate and travel authority are needed for them to be able to come home.

The Department of Health Region 8 recorded that the LSIs constitute the biggest number of confirmed COVID positive cases in the region, followed by the returning OFWs and the beneficiaries of the Balik Probinsiya program.

Joining the meeting were Gov. Rogelio Espina of Biliran, Gov. Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar, Gov. Leopoldo Dominico Petilla of Leyte, Gov. Edwin Marino Ongchuan of Northern Samar and Gov. Reynolds Michael Tan of Samar. Gov. Damian Mercado of Southern Leyte had to chair a PIATF meeting being held simultaneously and was represented by Provincial Administrator Jason Calva.

A corollary suggestion was that considering the testing capacity of health facilities, the LSIs should be swabbed at the health facility of origin. The swab samples may be sent to Region 8 via EVRMC for processing of the result.

One more suggestion was for the temporary suspension of the repatriation of LSIs, returning Overseas Filipinos and the Balik Probinsiya Program (already suspended).

The governors also suggested for the National Government to establish/assign Quarantine Area per province for LSIs where the PCR Test will be conducted first. This was forwarded to the National IATF for its comment and action.

The governors also requested for DepEd to allow Local Government Units in Eastern Visayas to utilize school buildings as isolation facilities, beyond June 30, 2020.




Here’s good news on the testing capacity of both Eastern and Western Visayas.

Eastern Visayas no longer has any backlog on COVID-19 test results, Regional Director Minerva Molon of the Department of Health (DOH) in Eastern Visayas reported during the Mugstoria Ta aired live Monday to Friday at 1 p.m. on the Facebook page of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas.

According to Molon, Region 8 has two testing centers, one of which is the government-run Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC) in Tacloban City.

The other testing center is located at the Divine Word Hospital also in Tacloban City. Both hospitals are capable of conducting Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

“We can still cope (with the testing demand) and we don’t have backlogs,” Molon pointed out.

The EVRMC laboratory, which opened on May 11, has conducted 2,155 tests as of Friday last week, Molon revealed.

On the other hand, the Divine Word Hospital could conduct two testing runs per day, ranging from 90 to 150 tests, she added.

However, she added that they have to prepare for the testing requirements of all incoming residents, who have to undergo swab tests.

They have 4,600 detection kits available but they have requested for more kits from the governors and mayors of two cities, Molon said. So far, Biliran has committed to provide 40 testing kits, she said.