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DOH-8 appeals to LGUs to stop testing returning residents

TACLOBAN CITY – Amidst the continuous spike of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Eastern Visayas, the Department of Health (DOH-8) appealed to local government units (LGUs) to no longer test returning residents and isolate them immediately. 

Roderick Boyd Cerro, chief of the DOH-8 regional epidemiology and surveillance unit, said that they have sufficient evidence to prove that returning residents are infected and testing them is resource-draining.

“They should go straight to quarantine for 14 days. Even if they will not be tested, they are considered as infected so that resources can be directed to test local transmission, which is alarming,” he explained.

DOH-8 regional director Minerva Molon stressed the need to isolate returning residents such as locally stranded individuals (LSIs), beneficiaries of the Balik Probinsiya Program (BPP), and repatriated overseas Filipino workers (ROFWs) to not infect the community. 

“Fourteen days may be tormenting but it is the best way to protect your families from infection,” she noted.

Due to the sudden surge of cases attributed to arriving LSIs, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG-8) has temporarily stopped the travel of LSIs last June 26 until July 9, 2020, based on a joint resolution submitted by the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (RIATF-MEID) and the Regional Task Force for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (RTF COVID 19).

The official explained that the reason why they are delaying the arrival of returning residents is to prepare isolation facilities that should be identified by the LGUs such as schools or homes provided that there are not enough spaces for the people to isolate. DOH-8 has reported a record-breaking spike of cases and increased local infection during Week 25. On the other hand, Molon said they see that the trend is going down on Week 27 with 41.2 percent recovery. By Marie Tonette Marticio

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