Dagupan revokes eased lockdown rules as 14 frontliners test positive for COVID-19

DAGUPAN CITY, the main economic center in Pangasinan, did not shift to relaxed quarantine rules on June 1 as scheduled after 14 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Sunday, all frontliners working in the city but two are residents of other towns. The supposed reopening of restaurants, salons, hotels, and tourist spots with the required health safety standards starting Monday has been suspended. “There is a need anew to restrict the movement of people in Dagupan, given this supervening event in order to contain the spread of COVID-19,” Mayor Brian C. Lim said in a streamed briefing Sunday afternoon. The new test results for COVID-19, or coronavirus disease 2019, were part of the 728 samples taken from frontline workers such as medical staff, city government employees, and police officers on May 21–30. The city is still awaiting about 200 results from the Philippine Red Cross. “It is possible that there will be more positive cases among those who were tested,” Mr. Lim said. City Health Officer Ophelia T. Rivera, the COVID-19 focal person, said all the new patients, all asymptomatic, have been placed in isolation and given medical care. She also said contact tracing is ongoing. Prior to the May 31 results, the city’s COVID-19 count stood at 11 since April 24, with 10 recoveries and one death. — MSJ

Cebu drops PCR confirmatory testing to adapt 21-day discharge policy for COVID-19 patients

THE Cebu provincial government will no longer use PCR testing as criteria for releasing patients who have recovered from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Governor Gwendolyn F. Garcia announced. In a statement released Sunday evening, Ms. Garcia cited the World Health Organization’s recommendation for the adoption of a time-based discharge criterion, which is being clinically well by day 21 from the onset of illness. “Testing, testing, testing is illogical,” Ms. Garcia said, noting that Singapore is already using the 21-day discharge policy. “We will adopt the Singapore method,” she said. The Singapore Ministry of Health, in a May 28 post on its site, said, “The Multi-Ministry Taskforce has studied and evaluated the latest local and international clinical and scientific evidence which show that viable virus was not found in COVID-19 patients after the second week of illness despite the persistence of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) detection of ribonucleic acid (RNA). This means that COVID-19 patients are not likely to be infectious after Day 14 of illness and are not infectious by Day 21 of illness.” — MSJ

Mother, daughter arrested for illegal selling of rapid test kits, estafa

STATE agents arrested a mother and daughter in an entrapment operation for unauthorized selling of rapid test kits and estafa. National Bureau of Investigation Officer-in-Charge Eric B. Distor identified the two as Glorina Juliana Carandang and her daughter, Avi Siwa, who were charged for violation of the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009 and estafa. Mr. Distor, in a statement, said the case stemmed from a complaint against Ms. Siwa, who allegedly required the complainant to pay a P4.6 million downpayment for 10,000 sacks of rice in Cebu City early this month, which was never delivered. Upon instruction of the bureau, the complainant used a different name and contacted Ms. Siwa anew, who was then selling test kits through Facebook. The entrapment took place in Manila on May 29. “Subjects were arrested upon their receipt of the payment for the 120 pieces of Rapid Test Kits,” NBI said. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas