Governor mulls Palawan lockdown to prevent entry of new COVID-19 variant

Published December 30, 2020, 2:19 PM

by Aira Magdayao

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY – Palawan Governor Jose Chaves Alvarez has ordered the provincial inter-agency task force (IATF) on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to discuss the possibility of implementing a lockdown to protect the province from the entry of the new variant of the disease, which is more transmissible compared to the original strain.

Alvarez said he has ordered the provincial IATF to use all resources to assure the safety of Palawenos against the new COVID-19 strain, which was said to have originated from the United Kingdom.

“May instruction na rin sa atin ang Gobernador na ibuhos lahat ng resources na available natin para i-contain ‘yong borders sa southern part ng Palawan dahil ayaw natin na itong bagong strain ng COVID-19 ay pumasok sa atin,” said Provincial Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Office and Provincial IATF Emergency Operation Manager Jeremias Alili.

He said discussions will soon be held with the COVID Shield, which is composed on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Command, Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and other agencies. 

“’Yan po ang inaayos namin ngayon, mayron akong naka-set na series of meeting para i-lock down ang southern Palawan from other neighboring islands, maging ‘yan ay nanggaling sa bandang Sulu Sea o nanggaling sa Malaysian Island, pag-uusapan po namin ‘yan,” he added. 

Alili also clarified that they will only prevent the entry of individuals or passengers coming from outside Palawan, but the entry of essential goods will be allowed. 

Alili also called for the assistance of the barangays in monitoring the fishermen in their locality. 

He also said that they have already coordinated with the municipal mayors and DILG to prevent the entry of new variant.

A new variant was reported discovered recently in Malaysia, which is near southern Palawan.