#COVID-19 Regional Updates (04/28/20)

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Dagupan health officer says rapid testing helped mitigate COVID-19 spread

THE use of rapid testing has helped contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Dagupan by allowing authorities to immediately isolate people who could be carrying the virus, according to City Health Officer Ophelia T. Rivera. Dagupan has 11 confirmed cases as of April 27, the highest within Pangasinan province, with five already recovered, one died, and five still in hospital. Of the total, eight are medical frontliners. The last four patients were confirmed on April 24 and no positive cases have since been reported. Ms. Rivera said while the city currently has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the province, it must be noted that most of those infected are frontliners. “They were exposed. They were right in the battlefield, in the hospital, which is the COVID-19 referral facility in the province,” she said. The City Health Office has conducted about 500 tests using rapid antibody test kits (RATK) since April 8, mostly on those who had contact with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients. Those who test positive and those with a negative result but symptomatic are put on quarantine. Samples from residents who were found “reactive” after the RATK tests are sent for confirmatory test using the RT-PCR test, or reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Mayor March Brian C. Lim donated his eight months salary to the city for the purchase of 1,000 RATKs. — MSJ

Police file complaint vs foreigner in Makati village incident

A MAKATI City policeman has filed a complaint against the foreigner he got in conflict with during patrol duty for the implementation of quarantine rules amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis. Police Senior Master Sergeant Ronald Von M. Madrona charged Spanish Javier P. Salvador with direct assault, unjust vexation, and violation of Republic Act No. 11332 Sec. 9e or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, and Makati City Ordinance 2000-089 for not wearing a face mask. A video of the incident that took place in the upperclass village of Dasmariñas, released by the Makati Police, showed both parties in a heated argument with Mr. Salvador yelling at Mr. Madrona to get out of their property. The police report indicates that the cops were on routine patrol when they saw the house helper of Mr. Salvador not wearing a face mask while watering plants at the front lawn. The Bureau of Immigration, in a statement, reminded foreigners that they are not exempted from quarantine protocols. Commissioner Jaime H. Morente said disobedience to the law governing the enhanced community quarantine may lead to arrest and deportation. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

OFWs returning home to Bohol to undergo another 14-day quarantine

OVERSEAS Filipino workers (OFWs) from Bohol, who have already completed the mandatory 14-day quarantine period after arriving in either Metro Manila or Cebu, will be placed in an isolation facility for another two weeks when they get back to their home province. Governor Arthur C. Yap, in a briefing Monday, said the requirement is intended to protect the province, which has remained free from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) since one case of a Chinese tourist in January. Mr. Yap also said the additional quarantine days will address “fears” by residents. Returning OFWs will also have to present a Department of Health certification on completing the initial 14-day quarantine and a negative COVID-19 rapid test result or, “better yet,” a PCR test result if available, Mr. Yap announced. There are 262 OFWs from Manila and 81 from Cebu who are expected to return to Bohol. — MSJ

UN-Habitat expands Marawi rebuilding program to include COVID-19 response

THE United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) has expanded its rebuilding program in Marawi City to include response measures on the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis. In a press statement released Monday night, UN-Habitat said its Global Emergency Response Fund is providing an additional budget for the three-month project called COVID-19 Response As We Rebuild Marawi. The project components include providing residents access to food and other basic needs through satellite markets and mobile stores, installing hand-washing facilities and distribution of protective equipment and other medical supplies, promoting community level gardening, and enhancing the city government’s incident command system. The target beneficiaries are about 2,500 families who were displaced by the 2017 siege by extremist groups and are still living in temporary shelters. “Marawi City is one of the most vulnerable cities right now because of the disasters that it has experienced,” said Warren C. Ubongen, UN-Habitat project manager. UN-Habitat has been implementing the Rebuilding Marawi through Community-driven Shelter and Livelihood program, which organizes residents into cooperatives for livelihood activities. Marawi City and the entire Lanao del Sur province has been under strict quarantine protocols with nine confirmed COVID-19 cases out of the total 10 in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao as of April 27. — Carmelito Q. Francisco