Bicol tightens border control after spike in COVID-19 cases

Bicol’s Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) has ordered tighter control of the region's border with Quezon province after Bicol recorded its highest spike in COVID-19 cases.

In a meeting on Wednesday, July 8, the council passed a resolution to strengthen the checkpoints in the boundary of Quezon province and Bicol region, specifically the checkpoint in Del Gallego town in Camarines Sur.

Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal,  chairman of the Regional Development Council, said in a statement posted on his Facebook page after the meeting that the tighter border control will be implemented this week. 

"With the increasing cases of COVID-19 in Bicol, it is necessary to strengthen the checkpoint in the border located in the municipality of Del Gallego town," Rosal said.

A day before the RPOC passed the resolution, Bicol confirmed 24 new cases of coronavirus, the most recorded in the region in a single day. All of the new cases are returning residents.  

The RPOC instructed the police and Land Transport Office personnel to check entering vans and other vehicles for the necessary travel passes and health certificates of their passengers.

Rosal urged authorized persons outside of residence (APOR) in the business sector or in government traveling between Bicol  and Metro Manila “to police their own ranks.”

"It will be their responsibility to ensure the safety of their people  and follow  protocols,” he said.

Rosal added that locally stranded individuals (LSIs) would still be allowed entry but “only those on coordinated travels and required to go directly to the respective quaratine facilities of LGUs.”

“We need this to control spread of virus in Bicol," he added.

On the day the RPOC held the meeting on Wednesday, the region confirmed 8 new coronavirus cases, all LSIs, raising the total number of cases to 198. Of this number, 111 are active cases.

The new cases include the first two confirmed COVID-19 in Pilar town, Sorsogon; one each in Naga City, Sipocot, and Tinambac, Camarines Sur; and 3 in Ligao City, Albay. 

Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, and Naga City are under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). – Rappler.com