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Bacolod: 7 Negrense travelers from South Africa under isolation

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Bacolod City – Seven more Negrense travelers from South Africa are being held for isolation by the Bureau of Quarantine in Manila, as three South African consultants of BioPower company in Negros Occidental, and a Returning Overseas Filipino (ROF) were re-swabbed yesterday for coronavirus testing.

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Provincial Inter Agency Task Force action officer Rayfrando Diaz said that they were furnished with a list of names of seven Negrenses from South Africa who recently arrived in the country.

“We just hope that they are not carriers of COVID-19 Omicron variant,” Diaz said, as he also confirmed that the three South African consultants of BioPower arrived in Negros Occidental on November 25 and 26, before the banning of travelers from South Africa entering the country took effect.

He also reported that an ROF from South Africa, who is a resident of Pontevedra, Negros Occidental, also managed to return to the province, through an S-PaSS approved by the city government of Bacolod.

Since there is no screening in Bacolod City, Diaz claimed he has no idea if that ROF had been issued with certificate of quarantine. But he said that the three South Africans, who were reported earlier as ROFs, have presented the required documents, including the approved S-PaSS.

“They don’t have indicators that they came from South Africa and they indicated in their S- PaSS that they came from Makati,” Diaz pointed out.

“The primary duties and obligation to impose ban on travelers from red countries lies on the Bureau of Quarantine,” he added.

The provincial government of Negros Occidental had been criticized in the social media, for the entry of South Africans in the province, despite their strict implementation of S-PaSS requirements from inbound travelers.

Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson debunked claims that the three South African residents slipped through health protocols of the provincial government.

It is wrong to say that they slipped through our protocol, Lacson pointed out.

He explained that those inbound travelers from South Africa entered Manila first, and were accepted by the Bureau of Quarantine, because South Africa was still under Green travel restrictions.

When they applied for S-PaSS for entry to the province, they placed Makati City in Manila as their point of origin, Lacson said, stressing that it was only on November 27 that the banning of travelers from South Africa was ordered.

This prompted the power company, where they are being employed as consultants, to inform us that they placed on isolation the three South Africans, he added. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star, photo courtesy of The Daily Guardian)

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