DUMAGUETE CITY – Non-essential travelers from areas that are at high risk for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) are not allowed to travel to Negros Oriental amid its raised alert for the Delta variant.

Capitol spokesperson and public information officer Bimbo Miraflor, in an interview on Wednesday, said Gov. Roel Degamo's Executive Order No. 28 extends the general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions from Aug. 1-15.

The measure imposes, among others, strict border control and travel restrictions on travelers from areas placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ (MECQ), except for authorized persons outside of residence (APORs) and other essential workers.

This means non-essential travelers from Metro Manila and nearby areas, Cebu province, Cebu City, and other areas in the Visayas and Mindanao with trips via land, sea, or air to the province, will be banned entry.

“We are confident that despite our lack of resources, such as border control personnel, we can still keep an eye on unauthorized people trying to get into the province,” Miraflor said in mixed English and Cebuano dialect.

He, however, said their concern is those coming from Western Visayas, specifically from Negros Occidental which shares borders with Negros Oriental.

“We cannot afford setting up border controls everywhere at the boundaries between both provinces, mao nga malusutan lang gihapon ta (people can sneak in unnoticed) especially in remote villages and that is a sad reality,” he said.

Requirements for travel to Negros Oriental include proof of full vaccination and negative antigen test result, or a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result, and a Safe, Swift and Smart Passage or S-PaSS, he added.

An S-PaSS is an online travel management system developed by the Department of Science and Technology that gives travelers a safe and convenient way of processing their requirements.

“The S-PaSS alone can immediately detect the point of origin and destination of a traveler, and right then and there will decline an application if these areas are under the higher quarantine classifications,” Miraflor said.

Residents in Negros Oriental are calling for stricter border controls following media reports of Delta variant cases in Cebu, which is just a few hours of travel to and from Negros Oriental. (PNA)