SULU Gov. Sakur Tan has barred travellers from Malaysia and locked down his province to prevent the entry of the new strain of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) following the emergence of a new strain of the virus in Sabah.
Tan said he temporarily closed the province to civilians coming from Sabah to pre-empt the possible spread of the new Covid-19 strain. He said the lockdown began January 4 until January 17. Exempted from the travel restrictions are frontline health workers, security forces and emergency cases.
Meanwhile, Zamboanga City Mayor Isabel Climaco-Salazar said she is also coordinating with the Western Mindanao Command and the Department of Health in putting up measures to prevent the entry of the new Covid-19 strain.
She asked local lawmakers to call for an emergency meeting to come up with a resolution for the temporary suspension of sea travels from Sabah to Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
City Health Officer Dr. Dulce Miravite also appealed to residents to strictly comply with safety and health protocols, and avoid social gatherings due to the threat of the new Covid-19 variant.
“With the detection of the new strain which appears to be more transmissible, we appeal to everyone to practice protocols and avoid social gatherings and be socially accountable and responsible for the safety of everyone,” Miravite said.
Miravite said the local government is putting in place more stringent measures, including the travel of authorized persons outside residences, locally stranded individuals, and returning residents to prevent and contain the infection. Just recently, authorities filed charges against a couple who entered Zamboanga illegally by boat from Tawi-Tawi. They also failed to present health documents to local authorities.