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The Provincial Government assured Palaweños that the concerned agencies are working vigorously to track down everyone who came in contact with the first COVID-19 positive patient in Palawan in order to prevent local transmission.
“Patuloy naman ‘yung contact tracing ng PHO…, in coordination with the DOH, hinahanap lahat ng nagkaroon ng contact dito sa Australian [national] na ito. Sa ngayon, [ang mga naunang nakilala], sila ay nasa quarantine upang mapigilan ang pag-transmit ng Corona Virus [Disease-19 locally]. And I think, at this very moment, tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang contact tracing nila,” Provincial Information Officer Winston Arzaga said during the first ever online press briefing of the PIO, yesterday, March 23, held at the Governor’s Conference Room in Provincial Capitol Complex.
When asked by the media if what had the local government of San Vicente done since the first COVID-19 infected subject was reported, he said that they acted on it immediately.
“Yung dinaanan niya (Australian), ‘yung Port Barton, naka-lockdown po ‘yan immediately, ‘yun ang ginawa ng LGU roon. ‘Yung dalawang establishments na pinanggalingan niya ay immediately, naipasara [rin] po ‘yan and then, tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang contact tracing doon mismo sa loob ng barangay,” he further said. “Yung barangay government especially ang tumutulong kasi mas kilala nila ang mga tao [sa kanilang lugar].”
The Information Officer of Palawan likewise explained that the Department of Health (DOH) did not yet release any statement on how the 26-year-old Australian managed to leave Palawan but he confirmed to the he was being able to fly back to Australia.
Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo Bayron announced on March 21 that the Australian national arrived in the Philippines last March 5, and landed in Puerto Princesa City on March 7 then went directly to San Vicente and stayed in a resort for several days.
On March 13 or five days later, he visited a health facility to have a check-up and classified him as Person Under investigation (PUI).
As protocol, personnel of Palawan Rescue 165 fetched him that day and admitted him at Ospital ng Palawan (ONP). The next day, specimen samples were already taken from the patient, but due to delays, only on the evening of March 20 when the result was released that shocked Palaweños—because he is positive with COVID-19.
The subject was reportedly released by ONP on March 15 and was told to self-isolate but he went instead to Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPIA), hoping to leave Palawan but failed. So, he decided to stay in a hotel.
After two days, he went again to PPIA in the morning and successfully boarded a commercial plane and left for Clark International Airport, Pampanga. He left the country that night.
And as of press time, no other positive cases are listed in the City and in the Province of Palawan although a new positive case was reported in Mimaropa Region, particularly in Marinduque.
According to the Situational Report No. 57 of PDRRMC as of 4:00 AM of March 23, there are currently more than 50 PUI’s in Palawan from the 62 plus total recorded number.
From the total figure, there are 11 PUI’s who have negative result from COVID-19, 12 pending result (one died while waiting the result due to previous illness but also turned out to be negative), 39 uncollected specimens and two (2) for verification.
Likewise, in the 4,649 overall reported persons under monitoring (PUM), there are already 30 cleared as of March 20, bringing it down to 4,619.