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MAASIN CITY, March 17 (PIA) - - The Southern Leyte provincial government headed by Governor Damian G. Mercado declares Voluntary Community Quarantine in its effort to prevent the entry and widespread exposure of COVID – 19 in the province.

In a meeting with Inter-Agency Task Force members on March 16, 2020, the group recommended to Governor Mercado that voluntary community quarantine shall be imposed in the province of Southern Leyte due to rapid movement of people in and out of the province.

On the same day, Gov. Mercado signed Executive Order No.19, an Executive Order placing the province of Southern Leyte in voluntary community quarantine which shall be in force from March 17, 2020 at 7:00 am until March 31, 2020 at 11:59 pm.

The EO enforces installation of check points in all major roads and ports leading to Southern Leyte as all travelers are required to execute and submit filled out Health Declaration forms.

The order urges persons coming to the province from Covid-19 affected areas to observe mandatory self quarantine for a period of 14 days upon arrival. Those who defy this order shall be penalized under RA 92271 and RA 11332.

Residents and visitors in Southern Leyte are advised to be home by 10: 00 pm except those working on night shift and observe the city / municipal curfew hours.

Tourists planning to visit Southern Leyte are requested to postpone their trips.

Transport of basic and lifeline commodities such as food, medicines, medical supplies, gas, fuel and the like shall not be hampered. Movement of cargoes / goods to and from Southern Leyte shall continue and shall observe the pre-emptive measures/ interventions.

Hotels will continue to operate provided guests shall fill-up a declaration card.

All National Government Officials and employees who are working in Southern Leyte and who travelled outside the province and who came from provinces, cities or municipalities without confirmed case of Covid-19 shall be allowed to enter Southern Leyte subject to filled out declaration forms submitted to the designated local government office.

Gov. Mercado ordered for the suspension of all classes at all levels from public and private schools until such time that it will be lifted by the agencies concerned and or by the local chief executives.

All provincial governments offices, except for Provincial Health Services Office, government health facilities, Provincial Social Welfare Office, PDRRMO shall implement compressed work week of 40 hours per week in four days.

The provincial government of Southern Leyte shall hold office on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The national government employees may also adopt the compressed work week of 40 hours per week in four days with the same schedule with the local government unit

All mass gatherings and public events such as fiestas, anniversary, public and private school activities, rallies, assemblies and other formal and informal gatherings are suspended indefinitely, among other pre-emptive measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

PNP Provincial Police Director PCol Nelson DC Eucogco is designated to be the focal person charged to coordinate actions in connection with the implementation of the said EO with the Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fire Protection and Armed Forces of the Philippines, the said order further stated. (esg/PIA SoLeyte)