GenSan lifts RT-PCR test, mandatory quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers and returning residents

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 12 November) – The city government has lifted effective on Friday the negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result for COVID-19 and the mandatory quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated travelers and returning residents, according to Executive Order (EO) No. 51 issued by City Mayor Ronnel Rivera.

Health workers perform vaccination aboard General Santos City’s “bakuna bus” at the central public market on Saturday (16 October 2021). Photo from the LGU-GenSa Facebook page

The EO, which was released to the public late Thursday night, eased the remaining restrictions and control measures here in the wake of the declining new COVID-19 infections.

Rivera said the removal of such requirements covers all vaccinated travelers entering the area, especially through the city airport.

The local government previously required all airline passengers to present negative RT-PCR test results before boarding their flights and undergo 14-day mandatory quarantine upon arrival.

“Other travelers shall continue to be required (with) the usual negative RT-PCR result and mandatory quarantine requirements, and undergo the usual protocols upon their arrival in the city,” he cited in his EO, referring to the unvaccinated individuals.

The mayor said the easing of such regulations was recommended by the City Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases during its regular virtual meeting on Nov. 9.

He said it reported that the city has already been under the low-risk classification for COVID-19 due to the significant decrease of the daily new cases since last month, which has resulted in the lowering of the hospital bed occupancy rate.

It is complemented by the continuing increase in the number of residents who are getting vaccinated against the disease, he said.

“It was resolved (during the meeting) that there is a need to implement new guidelines geared towards the opening of the city’s economy, which is vital to the survival of the people,” Rivera said.

The city is under the general community quarantine (GCQ) until the end of the month but the local government has appealed to the national IATF for the downgrading of its classification to modified GCQ due to the improving situation.

As of 6 p.m. Thursday, the City Health Office only recorded a total of 162 active cases, a huge decrease from the over 1,000 during the surge last September.

The confirmed COVID-19 infections in the city since last year already reached 14,091, with 546 related deaths and 13,383 recoveries.

In his EO, Rivera finally lifted the general curfew in the city but minors are still restricted from going out of their homes from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.

The mandatory wearing of the face shields in all public places is also removed, except those in hospitals and clinics.

All minors are now allowed to enter shopping malls and other public places but the prohibition remains for kiddie amusement places.

But Rivera noted that the easing of these regulations is subject to the observance of the usual health protocols such as the proper wearing of face masks, safe physical distancing, and regular hand sanitization.

He directed the barangay enforcers and police personnel to strictly implement the mask mandate in public places, curfew for minors, and other existing regulations.

Rivera urged residents and visitors from other areas to properly comply with these measures to prevent another surge of COVID-19. (MindaNews)