IBA, Zambales—The Zambales provincial government ordered tougher guidelines in the entry and movement of people in the province following double-digit daily records of confirmed coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases here since the second week of March.
On Monday, Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. issued Executive Order 7, which imposed longer curfew hours, required travelers to register prior to entry in the province, and authorized random testing among vulnerable sectors.
Ebdane, who also announced on Monday that he has tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, said that relaxation of travel restrictions and careless behavior by people moving about the province resulted in a surge in infections.
According to the Zambales Provincial Health Office (PHO), daily new Covid-19 cases increased from zero on March 1 and single-digit numbers in the first two weeks of said month to record number of cases that brought the provincial hospital to critical admission level.
PHO data showed 20 new cases on March 17, 12 on March 18, 21 on March 19, 25 on March 20, 11 on March 21, and 21 on March 22.
The active cases were concentrated in the towns of Botolan with 38; Palauig, 21; Iba, 15; Subic, 13; San Antonio, 12; and Castillejos, 10.
Under the new executive order, Ebdane adjusted the province-wide curfew from the previous 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. to the current 8:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. Curfew for minors below 15 years old is longer from 7:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.
Ebdane said that those who have legitimate and essential activity may be exempt from the curfew provided they show proof of such legitimate or essential activity.
Meanwhile, Ebdane also ordered business establishments, including restaurants, convenience stores and similar shops in hotels and resorts, to operate until 8:00 p.m. only.
He also banned the sale or distribution of alcoholic or intoxicating beverages during curfew hours and warned that violators may suffer closure, suspension, or revocation of permit or license.
Similarly, eateries and restaurant were allowed to dispense alcoholic beverages in their premise until 7:00 p.m. only, with violators facing applicable criminal charges.
Ebdane also required the use of Safe, Swift, and Smart Passage (S-PaSS) Travel Management System developed by the Department of Science and Technology in Region 6. He said this will be the one-stop shop application for travelers entering Zambales.
The use of the S-PaSS applies to all locally stranded individuals (LSIs), returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs), emergency travelers (ETs), and other persons entering the province during the pandemic.
Ebdane’s new order also limited social gatherings, and non-essential assemblies to just 10 attendees, regardless of the size or seating capacity of venue, and required official government assemblies to be coordinated with local government units.
Meanwhile, it authorized the PHO to conduct random Covid-19 testing among susceptible population sectors, and on employees of private establishments and offices at the expense of the management; and for LGUs to implement zoning containment strategy whenever necessary to limit the spread of virus.
Ebdane also said that any private establishment or office that will have a number of Covid-19 cases shall be locked down to undergo cleaning and disinfection to be supervised by PHO or municipal health units.