Wed, 17 Aug 2022

BACOLOD CITY - Three expatriates and a Filipino, who recently arrived in Negros Occidental from South Africa, will undergo swab tests for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) on Wednesday.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said the four arrived in the country before travelers from African countries were banned in the Philippines starting Nov. 28 to prevent the entry of the new Covid-19 variant, Omicron.

"They were accepted by the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) because last week, South Africa was still a 'green' list country," Lacson said.

The three foreigners work as consultants for a power firm operating the two solar power plants in Negros Occidental while the returning overseas Filipino (ROF), who passed through Bacolod, is from Pontevedra town.

Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II said the four are all fully vaccinated and they are hoping their tests will yield negative results.

"They are now isolated and are being tested today. We hope for the best that no one will be infected," he added.

Diaz said the two expatriates arrived in Negros Occidental on Nov. 25 while the other one, on Nov. 26.

The three foreign consultants are now undergoing 14-day quarantine in rented houses in two localities.

"They have been locked down. Their places have been cordoned off. Since they can't go out, the company is providing for their needs," Diaz said.

He added that seven more Negrenses, who recently returned to the country from South Africa, are being monitored by the BOQ in the National Capital Region.

They have yet to apply for Safe, Swift, and Smart Passage (S-PaSS) travel coordination permit for their return to the province.

Travelers from seven nations in Africa have been temporarily prohibited from entering the country from Nov. 28 to Dec. 15 after the recent directive from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

These countries include South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique, which are on the red list or areas considered as "high-risk" for Covid-19.

Previously, South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe were on the "green" list or those classified as "low-risk countries. (PNA)

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