#COVID-19 Regional Updates (06/03/20)

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Negros Occidental opens COVID-19 test lab

NEGROS Occidental province has formally opened its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing laboratory, located at the Teresita Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City. The facility received its accreditation from the Department of Health on June 1. Governor Eugenio Jose V. Lacson, in a statement, said the laboratory is crucial as it “will be able to test more Negrenses in a timely manner,” especially the returning overseas workers and residents stranded in other parts of the country. The province eased lockdown rules starting June 1, but its border with Negros Oriental remains closed. Last May 12, Mr. Lacson said the provincial government intends to establish a protocol “that all persons entering Negros Occidental should be placed in a holding facility for 1 to 2 days while test are conducted, and until the test results are released from our own bio-lab.” The province, excluding the independently-governed Bacolod City, has recorded just three COVID-19 cases, with two recoveries and one still under treatment. Over 1,100 persons are under monitoring, including 19 suspect cases and seven probable. — MSJ

10-year old bicycle law in Davao City brought to life by coronavirus crisis

DAVAO City’s 10-year old law promoting the use of bicycles and developing corresponding bike-friendly roads may finally see implementation soon as the coronavirus crisis highlighted this mode of transport. “We have already identified roads. The next thing that we will do is inspect the roads if there are any that are problematic or if we can place bicycle lanes there,” Davao City Transport and Traffic Management Office chief Dionisio C. Abude said in a statement. The city government acknowledged that “more and more Dabawenyos go to work on a bicycle” following public transport restrictions imposed to help mitigate the spread of the virus. Mr. Abude, however, said they could not give a definite schedule yet on when they will start setting up the bike lanes with corresponding markings and signages. The bike lanes are targeted to span 72.2 kilometers. At the start of the lockdown, groups of cycling enthusiasts organized the provision of bicycles for health workers, and even training those who have never ridden one. The Bicycle Ordinance of Davao City, approved in 2010, was authored by the late Councilor Leonardo Placido R. Avila III, who was known as an advocate of the environment.