No sail policy up in Siargao and Bucas Grande islands

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BUTUAN CITY – Surigao del Norte’s provincial government has ordered a temporary “no sail policy” to Siargao and Bucas Grande islands starting Monday following the implementation of strict quarantine protocols and contact tracing in the area.

In a directive released on Friday, Governor Francisco T. Matugas ordered the Philippine Coast Guard, the Philippine Ports Authority, Philippine National Police, the military, and all the islands’ municipal mayors to temporarily halt the inbound and outbound travels of all passenger vessels to Siargao and Bucas Grande.

“The temporary implementation of the no sailing policy is in view of the emerging local transmission cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in Siargao and Surigao City, all of the province, wherein at least one confirmed Covid-19 case in Siargao has no travel history outside of Surigao del Norte,” Matugas said in the order.

He said the order also applies to chartered and privately hired sea vessels.

“This order is issued to effectively and efficiently conduct massive contact tracing of those who have possible exposure to Covid-19 confirmed case,” Matugas said.

The “no sail policy” will last until October 4.

Matugas also issued an executive order on Friday that set the guidelines on temporary restrictions due to the local transmission of Covid-10 in several areas in the Caraga region.

Residents of Surigao del Norte who are going to areas with confirmed local transmissions of Covid-19 between September 28 and October 4 were encouraged not to return to the province during the temporary travel restrictions period, according to the governor’s directive.

Non-residents of Surigao del Norte but are working in the province during weekdays were also directed to refrain from returning home to their respective provinces during weekends and asked to remain and stay in their rented houses during the temporary travel restrictions period.

Locally-stranded individuals (LSIs) and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) who are residents of Surigao del Norte were allowed to enter the province, provided they comply with the process of coordinating and securing a letter of acceptance from the receiving local government units (LGUs) and existing and pertinent national laws and local ordinances, the governor’s order said.

Likewise, it said transit passengers passing through Surigao del Norte on their way to other provinces would be allowed to pass through the province and would be escorted by authorities to the borders.

The Department of Health (DOH) 13 (Caraga) reported one Covid-19-positive case in San Isidro, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte on September 23.

The case involved a 33-year-old man from San Isidro with travel history to Surigao City on September 7 and 8.

Following the case, Surigao City Mayor Ernesto U. Matugas Jr. also announced the suspension of work at the city government on Friday to give way to contact tracing and to reduce the movement of residents.

On Friday, DOH-13 also announced one new Covid-19 case in Surigao City and the town of Bacuag, Surigao del Norte.

It said Surigao City, as of Thursday, had a total of 18 confirmed cases with 15 recoveries and three active cases.

Surigao del Norte, meanwhile, has 86 cases, with 84 recoveries and two active cases. -PNA

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