GenSan requiring negative RT-PCR results for outsiders entering city

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 8 Sep) – Front-line and essential workers coming from areas with confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) local transmission are now required to present negative Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test results before they can enter the city.

City Mayor Ronnel Rivera directed its strict enforcement effective Tuesday through Executive Order (EO) No. 42-B, which amended the city’s border control measures in the wake of the rising cases of COVID-19 in the area and the neighboring localities.

He said the requirement covers government officials, front-liners, field officers and employees; personnel providing health emergency frontline services; humanitarian workers; government security personnel; media workers; and lawyers attending hearings.

These workers were previously allowed to enter or pass through the city, subject to mandatory inspections, based on EO No. 42, which closed down the area’s borders to non-essential travels from Aug. 27 to Sept. 13.

“Those coming from areas considered as high risk to COVID-19 and don’t have negative RT-PCR test results will be temporarily barred from entering the city,” he told reporters

Aside from the negative RT-PCR test results, the mayor said they should also register and present quick response or QR codes issued by the city’s health monitoring system Trace and Protect Action Team (Tapat) health monitoring system.

But he said those who have registered and issued with QR codes under the electronic COVID-19 contact-tracing systems (CCTS) of other localities only needs to register them with Tapat.

He said these include the South Cotabato CCTS, the tracking and data control system of Malungon town in Sarangani and the contact-tracing application of Cotabato City.

The Tapat registration also covers workers handling deliveries of food and other essential supplies to and from the city, he said.

The mayor advised private companies based in the city with workers coming from the neighboring localities to house them in the area or allow them to work from home during the period as an option.

Rivera said they decided to impose the additional requirements to further limit the entry of people from other areas, especially those with “alarming” surge in COVID-19 local transmission.

Locally acquired and transmitted cases of the disease have been increasing since last month in parts of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and Cotabato.

Since March, the city has restricted the entry of people from Davao Region due to sustained COVID-19 community transmission.

As of Tuesday morning, the confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city already reached a total of 130, with six deaths and 49 recoveries. (MindaNews)