Batanes Governor Marilou Cayco has revealed the stringent measures they take that have resulted in the province continuing to be free of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) until today.
The province, located at the topmost part of the Philippines, has remained free of the disease despite having nearly 400 people going home from other parts of the country.
“Malaking advantage yung isla kami at mahirap mapuntahan,” Cayco told ABS-CBN News.
However, she said this is not the only reason the province remains untouched by the pandemic. she added that they are strictly following and observing safety measures because they know that they lack health facilities.
“Kulang kami sa kagamitan sa ospital. Ang aming ventilator, 2 lang po yung meron kami. Kaya ho kami ingat na ingat,” ABS-CBN quoted Cayo as saying.
She added they only have two hospitals in the entire province, and that they do not have air transportation for emergencies. And this fear is why everyone of their people and officials have remained steadfast in their commitment to follow the safety regulations.
The governor added that this is also the reason they have been keen to screen all visitors for fever and other symptoms linked to COVID-19. Those who exhibit any symptom are immediately quarantined in some of the tourist resorts.
The local government also made the decision to close the island off despite their income coming mostly from tourism
“Pinili namin ang kalusugan. Kaya sinara namin ng March 16 ang Batanes sa mga turista kahit alam namin marami ang mawawalan ng trabaho at negosyo. Sabi namin, mas madali yung tutulungan na lang natin ang nawalan ng trabaho at negosyo kaysa mawalan ng buhay,” she said.
Cayco also stressed that workers of ships that import food to Batanes are not allowed to step off the ships, while residents are not allowed to interact with them.
Lastly, the governor noted that they are strictly implementing the 14-day quarantine, even on top officials.
“Alam namin wala kaming COVID (pero) lahat naka-mask. Ibig sabihin, sinusunod namin ang mga protocol kahit alam namin na COVID-free po kami,” she told ABS-CBN News.