Ilocos Norte tightens border control due to rising infections

Following an increase in the number of infections traced after the Christmas and New Year revelries, Ilocos Norte has again tightened its borders by requiring a negative test result from all those wishing to enter the province.

As of January 5, Ilocos Norte has logged a total of 58 active coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases, mostly in thickly populated areas such as in the cities of Laoag and Batac and the nearby towns of San Nicolas, Sarrat, and Pasuquin.

Based on a three-page Executive Order no. 172-22 of Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc signed on January 5 and released that same night, it states that all persons entering the province, regardless of vaccination status, must undergo an antigen test at the border or present a negative RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction) test result within the last 60 hours or a negative antigen test taken within the last 24 hours from a Department of Health-accredited testing facility.

Ilocos Norte residents who have exited the province for not more than 72 hours or the so-called “balikan” are exempted for testing as long as they are fully vaccinated and not experiencing any Covid-19-like symptoms upon entry at the border.

“Testing however is required for local residents who have been outside of the province for more than 72 hours,” according to the latest order from the governor.

The Ilocos Norte government has committed to shoulder the testing expenses of all incoming residents, including registered tourists staying in the province for at least two nights.

Meanwhile, the frequent border crossers such as authorized persons outside residence (APORS) and cargo that are registered and accredited by the Metro Ilocos Norte Council of the Ilocos Norte government shall be required to present a negative Covid-19 test within the last seven days.

Effective immediately, all indoor events in the province are now limited to 50 individuals, excluding staff, and at a maximum of 30 percent venue capacity.

All outdoor events are also limited to 150 individuals and at a maximum of 50 percent venue capacity.

“At all events, all attendees, including staff, must be fully vaccinated,” said in the order while organizers of these events are mandated to seek for approval from the governor or the concerned mayor for strict monitoring of safety protocols.

In the meantime, all “private gatherings” are not permitted in the province.

In support of the governor’s EO, the municipal government of Bangui town has started to implement the “No Vaccination Card, No Entry” policy on Thursday while the Robinsons Mall in San Nicolas town has been screening all customers if they carry with them their vaccination cards.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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