With the exponential rise in positive cases of COVID-19 on the island, Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced seeks more rigorous compliance with the instructions that she expressed in her most recent executive order, particularly in relation to travelers arriving in Puerto Rico, she said. the assistant general of the National Guard, José Reyes.
“The instructions that she gave us is that we make an evaluation of the current situation, the execution, implementation of this executive order and how we can be more rigorous”, Reyes explained in an interview with The new day.
The assistant general indicated that during the weekend there were two teleconferences in which members of the governor’s cabinet and heads of dependencies with interference in the fulfillment of the order (OE-2020-057) participated, meetings in which the arrival of travelers through the airport was the main theme.
In an attempt to stop the entry of positive cases to COVID-19 through the airport, from states like Florida – the main focus of infection currently in the United States -, since July 15, visitors to the island must present a statement traveler with information to identify and track them, as well as a negative molecular test result.
Regarding this last requirement, Reyes assured that the compliance percentage has increased, but even so it barely reaches 25%. Regarding the declaration, he maintained that the compliance of the travelers reaches 97% and that the remaining 3% that arrives in Puerto Rico without the document, has completed it at the same airport prior to leaving the place, with the assistance of members of the National Guard.
In the daily Health report, in terms of confirmed cases accumulated according to the place of residence, in the line of “other place outside of Puerto Rico”, on June 22 there were 19 cases, but yesterday that figure already reached 67.
The general said that in the first 12 days since those instructions came into effect and Since the economic reopening was reversed, passenger arrivals on the island have been reduced from around 9,500 to around 5,000 daily.
“There is a lot of concern in the town and we have seen it in the news, of tourists walking through the tourist areas without observing the executive order, without using the mask,” Reyes said, saying that at the meeting of the cabinet members there was discussion that matter.
According to the head of the National Guard, today data is being collected regarding compliance with the executive order and the COVID-19 infections “to present a more detailed and scientific overview of the current situation to the governor”.
That report will include “Recommendations that the level of vigilance of this executive order must be increased, the rigor with which people who are in violation of this executive order must be treated, as well as the hotel and lodging areas, increase the information to passengers and reinforce the use of masks and physical distance. ”
People who do not show a negative result, according to the executive order, must comply with a quarantine and be tested on the island. The information of the remaining 75% is delivered to the Health Department to be included in the tracking and follow-up through the Sara Alert application.
But given the volume of passengers, Reyes acknowledged that it is not possible to track all visitors who arrive on the island. “The application is an application and we depend on people in quarantine to observe the quarantine and follow the instructions,” he said.
“The reality is that, if I have 40,000, 50,000 people in the Sara Alert application, the Puerto Rico Police has less than 11,000 personnel, how am I going to visit about 50,000 people daily? I cannot put an electronic shackle on them because it would violate the person’s right of movement ”, stated the adjutant general.
Reyes indicated that Salud is doing a random follow-up of these passengers, in around 10% of the cases, so that there are 90% of the travelers that are left out of this tracking. This medium requested an interview with the epidemiological Health personnel in charge of this screening, but at the time of this edition it had not materialized.
According to the head of the National Guard, Health also shares with the municipalities the information about the travelers who are staying in the respective municipalities.
Also, Reyes indicated that the government has not yet received a response to the request that the governor made to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to limit the flow of passengers from the states of Texas and Florida.
“The airport is seen as an air border for Puerto Rico and whoever has jurisdiction for the borders in the United States and its territories is the President of the United States and therefore the FAA, which regulates air traffic,” he reiterated, adding that he continues: The possibility of a tax on travelers during the pandemic is under discussion.