PREPARE FOR LSIs. Locally stranded individuals (LSIs) from the municipality of Lambunao, Iloilo are briefed by the municipal health physician before they were sent to the quarantine facility on June 20. The Western Visayas Regional Task Force on Thursday (July 2, 2020) advised local government units to prepare for arrivals of more LSIs once the temporary suspension is lifted. (Photo by CEC Infocenter Lambunao)

ILOILO CITY – Local government units (LGUs) in Western Visayas are advised to prepare for the arrival of locally stranded individuals (LSIs) once the trips resume.

Trips to the region were temporarily suspended for two weeks since June 28 upon the order of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) as coronavirus disease (Covid-19) had surged.

In a phone interview, civil defense regional director Jose Roberto Nuñez said Thursday said they expect more than 40,000 LSIs.

He said it is better that LGUs prepare now and not wait for the time that LSIs are already here.

The preparations will include the necessary quarantine facilities and the extraction of specimens from returning LSIs.

Data from the Western Visayas Regional Task Force Covid-19 showed that as of June 30, the region has 875 quarantine facilities equivalent to 12,489-bed capacities.

However, 46 percent or 5, 676 beds have been occupied.

Nuñez said he is looking for a warehouse within Iloilo that can be converted into a quarantine facility to accommodate around 100 people.

“We will use it as a temporary receiving area in case of mass arrivals if ever. They (LSIs) will be checked prior they will be sent to their destination,” he said.

He said he is sure there are locals or business sectors willing to help them.

Meanwhile, he said the region needs a lot of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RTPCR) test kits.

To date, two government hospitals are processing sample specimens using the RTPCR.

He added there will be more once private hospitals will open their laboratories.

As of June 30, the task force has assisted the trips of 19, 919 LSIs composed of 2, 244 from Aklan; 5,057, Antique; 3,852, Capiz; 230, Guimaras; 2, 326, Iloilo province; 914, Iloilo City; 4,506, Negros Occidental; and 663 from Bacolod City. (PNA)