Gov. Matugas suspends interisland travel in Surigao Norte

GENERAL LUNA, Siargao Island (MindaNews / 26 June) — Trips of passenger vessels from Surigao City bound for the ports in Siargao Island and Bucas Grande Island and vice versa have been temporarily suspended due to an increase in Covid-19 cases in Surigao del Norte.

Memorandum Order No. 20-175 issued Tuesday by Governor Francisco Matugas said the suspension took effect Friday, June 26 until Tuesday, June 30.

Surigao City Port. MindaNews photo taken 22 June 2020 by ROEL N. CATOTO

“The Order aims to manage and mitigate the spread of Covid-19 in the province of Surigao del Norte,” Matugas said.

Aside from the suspension of passenger travels, cargo truck drivers and helpers bound for Siargao Island were also required to submit additional health requirements starting Friday.

“Passengers to board cargo vessels, including truck drivers and helpers, will be required to present at ports in Siargao and Surigao del Norte Rapid Antibody Test taken within five days prior to the date of departure,” the order said.

Matugas clarified that the travel suspension and the additional requirements for all those who will board cargo vessels for Siargao will help authorities in contact-tracing.

The measure, he added, will enable the province to focus its human resources on managing the confirmed Covid-19 patients and those who tested positive in rapid antibody tests.

As of June 26, data culled from the Department of Health in the Caraga Region (DOH-13) showed that the towns of Surigao del Norte had a total of 31 confirmed Covid-19 cases.

Eight cases were recorded in Surigao City bringing to 39 the total number of cases in the province.

Siargao Island has three seaports located in Dapa, Del Carmen and Sta. Monica towns while Bucas Grande Island has a port in Socorro town. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)