DOH: Repatriated Filipinos from Japan cruise ship can still test positive for COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 26, 2020   •   533

The Department of Health (DOH) is still not dismissing the possibility that the repatriated Filipinos aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship might still test positive for COVID-19.

The Health department said the 445 Filipino repatriates will undergo the 14-day quarantine period.

Health experts are still studying why some individuals tested positive for COVID-19 despite not showing any symptoms.

The DOH said the repatriating Filipinos underwent five screening assessments in Japan before they were taken to the quarantine facility in Capas, Tarlac.

Meanwhile, the DOH also clarified that the 10 Filipino crew members who recovered from COVID-19 are not among the repatriated Filipinos. However, when they return to the Philippines they will still undergo the quarantine process.

There are currently 101 patients under investigation for COVID-19 in the country.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Nueva Ecija appeals to OWWA for better system on returning OFWs

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 28, 2020

The Nueva Ecija Provincial Government has appealed to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to have a better system on returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Atty. OJ Cornejo, officer-in-charge of the Provincial Assessor’s Office, said it has become a challenge for the provincial government to verify if the returning OFWs are negative of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

He said the OFWs do not have sufficient documents to prove that they have tested negative for COVID-19.

“Nag-message po ulit sila Sunday night na may uuwing dalawa pero wala pa iyong documents. Hindi pa nila pinapadala so hindi po ma-approve. We need to see po muna iyong negative result ng test and iyong quarantine certificate na nag-undergo na talaga quarantine iyong OFW (They sent a message Sunday night that two OFWs are returning but they have no documents yet. They haven’t sent it yet so it wasn’t approved. We first need to see the negative result of the test and the certificate that they underwent quarantine),” he said.

Nueva Ecija Governor Aurelio Umali said they need a more accurate list from OWWA so that they will be able to implement the proper safety protocols for returning OFWs.

“For instance pupunta pala ng Aurora pero Nueva Ecija ang nakalagay, so importante na makuha natin ang tamang listahan so that ang ating mga mayors, LGUs, will be able to prepare sa ating returning OFWs (For instance, they are going to Aurora but the document says Nueva Ecija. So it’s important for us to get the right list so that our mayors, LGU, will be able to prepare for our returning OFWs),” he said.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) previously reported that 24,000 OFWs will be returning to the country in the coming days and around 40,000 by next month. AAC (with reports from Danny Munar)

Metro Manila to likely transition to GCQ after May 31 —Palace

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 28, 2020

Metro Manila has a possibility to transition to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) from Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) after May 31, according to the Malacañang.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said there is a chance that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions might ease in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) held a meeting on Wednesday (May 27) to determine if the MECQ should continue after May 31.

“Chances are we will, in fact, be transitioning to GCQ in Metro Manila, according to the chief implementer and the DILG [Department of the Interior and Local Government] Secretary,” Roque said in a statement.

The Metro Manila Council (MMC) is also recommending to the IATF to put the National Capital Region under GCQ.

Once Metro Manila transitioned to GCQ, Roque said public transportation will resume operations but will have limited capacity.

He also appealed to the private and public sectors to finalize their work scheme where 50% will resume in worksites and 50% will work from home.

“We are appealing to both private and public sectors to ensure at least 50-50 workforce,” he said. –AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Mandaluyong City beefs up rapid testing after COVID-19 infects 277 tricycle drivers

Marje Pelayo   •   May 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Mandaluyong City government cannot decide yet on whether or not to allow tricycle drivers to operate come June 1.

This, after 277 of the 3,115 tricycle drivers who underwent rapid testing were confirmed positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The Mandaluyong City Health Office is continuously conducting rapid tests among 7,000 tricycle drivers in the city to ensure their safety and the safety of their passengers.

Those who were infected are now under isolation in the city’s quarantine facility while waiting for the confirmatory tests using the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

“Nagko contact tracing pa ho kami kasi scattered po ito eh. Hindi po ito kasi by area. So mina-map out pa po namin kung saan sila marami (We are doing contact tracing because these are scattered. It is not just in one area. So we are mapping out where the most number of cases are),” said Dr. Alexander Sta, Maria of the city health office.

The LGU, meanwhile, clarified that the increase in the number of confirmed cases in the city is a result of the mass testing which allowed for the immediate tracking of COVID-19 probable patients and their prompt isolation to curb further spread.

“This is coordinated kasi meron po tayong in-charge sa buong TODA. Then before po ito ni-launch, na-meeting po ang lahat ng presidente ng kanilang mga TODA so binigyan po sila ng schedule (This is a coordinated effort. There is someone in charge of the whole TODA. Before this was launched, we held a meeting with their respective presidents and all of them were given a schedule),” Sta. Maria added.

The city government will test jeepney drivers next once the tests among tricycle drivers is completed. MNP (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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