Returnees: main source of COVID19 surge here

Some 164 fishermen of negros Oriental who arrived from Palawan fishing spree were found to be 12cases positive of COVID19 plus their ship captain who died earlier on board. They were the biggest source of the virus that came INTO THE PROVINCE, thereby negating the gains achieved earlier of zero incidence... (COAST GUARD FOTO)

By all indicators, several returnees to the province and cities are the main sources of COVID19 virus, which has resulted in the sudden surge of Covid positive cases here.

The City and the province of Negros Oriental under City Mayor Felipe Remollo and Gov. Degamo together with 25 city and municipal mayors of Negros Oriental have served notice to the national government particularly the National Inter Agency Task Force of the Dept. of Health that unless and until the LOCAL LGUs are given authority to impose a stronger grip and stricter health checks on returning residents, the province will be forced to shut down all local airports, big and small seaports and local borders.

The Negros Oriental provincial Interagency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) intends to cut off all access to the province until the national IATF has decided on the urgent request to impose stricter health check measures especially NegOr returnees from other cities, provinces and especially abroad.

Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific, which both have domestic flights to and from here, were supposed to resume flights in this month but because of the local IATF decision, the two airlines, were later forced to cancel the flights until further notice.

Easing up the grip and relaxing restrictions have contributed to the sudden increase of the COVID-19 cases in the province which had 20 new infections as of June 6. Unconfirmed reports say that two burials by PPE-wearing health workers were observed in Bgy Bagacay. Local officials have yet to confirm this report.

MOREOVER, we have not even attempted to flatten the curve instead there is a nationwide ever increasing COVID19 cases noted EVERYDAY, there is an average increase of 500 daily cases of covid positive in the Philippines, now we have 22,474 covid positive and l7 new deaths totally now 1,011 deaths nationwide. The figures are not decreasing but increasing with the easing of restrictions.

Among the strict restrictions proposed include:

A directive by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) requiring returning residents to secure medical certificate from their places of origin and travel authority from the Joint Task Force COVID Shield. This is one of several new bodies added in stricter measures that the local government took against coronavirus.

The NegOr LGUs would want the national IATF to approve Negros Oriental’s request, that returning residents would be required to FIRST secure certificate of acceptance from officials of their hometowns and PRESENT PCR test results showing they’re negative for coronavirus.

Negros Oriental as a province has had no COVID-19 case for the past two months until stranded individuals returned, “all of a sudden NegOr has 20” cases.

All of the 18 new infections, two of which were from Cebu, involved mostly stranded individuals and one overseas Filipino worker who returned to Negros Oriental last week.

Thirteen of the patients, including the two Cebuanos, were fishermen who were stranded aboard vessel Phillip D.R., whose captain earlier died due of COVID-19 while still in coronavirus hot spot Manila.

Before the stranded residents arrived in the province last May 17, they were reported to have come from a fishing expedition in Palawan province.

Four other patients were stranded individuals, including an 11-year-old girl from the town of Sibulan who came home with her mom and three siblings from the town of Barili, Cebu province.

The latest case involved a 39-year-old woman from Dumaguete City but authorities weren’t sure if she got infected through local transmission. She was neither an OFW nor a stranded individual.

Dr. Liland Estacion, assistant provincial health officer, said all of the people who had been newly infected did not manifest any symptom.