Estrañero casts doubts on cleanliness of OFW quarantine facilities

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TABUK CITY, Kalinga– Mayor Darwin C. Estrañero raised concern on the alleged contamination of the quarantine and isolation facilities of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Metro Manila following the conflicting swab test results of returning OFWs from the city that resulted in the presence of confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases after nearly three months of the city being placed under community quarantine.

Estrañero disclosed it is possible some of the quarantine and isolation facilities for OFWs may be contaminated because two of the returning OFWs in the city who tested negative in Manila reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 when subjected to the required swab test upon arrival in the city.

Earlier, a 51-year old male OFW from Barangay Gobgob who came from Abu Dhabi was the city’s second confirmed COVID-19 case while a 33-year old female nurse from the same Arab country emerged as the city’s seventh COVID-19 case.

The city mayor claimed that in both instances, the patients reportedly tested negative in their swab tests in Metro Manila but upon arrival in the city after being fetched from Tuguegarao City and subjected to repeat swab tests, they eventually tested positive for the deadly virus.

“We are puzzled at what happened to our returning OFWs that is why the health department must look into the said instances because what happened to our returning OFWs might happen to others from other  places in the country,”  Mayor Estrañero stressed.

He claimed he already brought the matter to the attention of regional health officials for them to look into the said situation as this is a cause for concern among local officials who want to maintain their areas of jurisdiction to be free from the entry of infected individuals and local transmission of the virus.

The city’s second COVID-19 case recovered after undergoing strict confinement in the city’s isolation facility while the seventh case is still recovering and it is now the city’s lone active COVID-19 case.

The city chief executive pointed out the city government will continue to require returning OFWs and locally stranded individuals (LSIs) to undergo the rapid diagnose test or swab test depending on the assessment of health personnel managing the quarantine checkpoints to ensure that no COVID-19 infected individual will sneak into the city and possibly spread of the virus.

He added that the strict implementation of the conduct of rapid or swab tests not only to returning OFWs and LSIs but also to frontliners yielded in the discovery of alleged COVID-19 carriers that are being brought to the city which was a cause of concern among members of the city inter-agency task force on emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.

Mayor Estrañero asserted the city government will continue to strictly implement established health and safety protocols in the different checkpoints around the city to prevent the possible entry of infected individuals who might be the cause of the sudden surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city in the coming weeks that will eventually derail the gains that were achieved during the implementation of the prevailing community quarantine to prevent the rapid spread of the virus.

By Hent

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