Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Zamboanga now has first Covid-19 positive case


ZAMBOANGA CITY – A 29-year old man who returned here from Manila has been tested positive for the deadly coronavirus disease, or Covid-19, and is now placed under a strict quarantine, Mayor Beng Climaco announced late Tuesday.

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Climaco said the man arrived on March 13 on a Philippine Airline flight PR 2993 and she appealed to others who were in the same plane to quickly get in touch with health authorities as contact tracing continues Wednesday.

“As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, the City of Zamboanga has recorded its first Covid-19 case based on the results of tests conducted by health agencies. The first case is a 29-year old male from Barangay Sinunuc who has a travel history from Manila,” she said.

“To all passengers aboard PAL PR 2993 from Manila to Zamboanga last March 13, you can now call the Health Hotlines of our Communications Center at 09661754298 and 975-4802. Our health personnel will answer you. Please provide your name, age, contact number and address. Our personnel from the City Health Office and the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team in your barangay will contact you right away. You will be under strict home quarantine until March 27. Please be guided,” she added.

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Climaco also appealed to residents not to share the identity and personal information of the patient, now called ZP-01, after an emergency medical team took the man from his home on the coastal village of Sinunuc and brought him to a medical facility.

“We remind the public to maintain patient confidentiality by not sharing personal information and name of our first confirmed Covid-19 patient. It is a violation of the Data Privacy Act. ZP-01 needs our prayers and not our judgment,” she said.

But the mayor’s appeal was nil as the man’s photo and profile quickly went viral on Facebook, including video clips of the medical team who fetched the patient.

“Over the past days, we have been implementing measures to stem the spread of the global Covid-19 pandemic through the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine. We had hoped that Zamboanga City would have no case – but pragmatically, we knew that we could not remain Covic-19 free forever.”

“Our efforts were swift and decisive, but it was meant to delay the inevitable for as long as we possibly can, to buy time for our hospitals and health workers to prepare, to keep people in their homes so we can lessen the spread,” said Climaco, her voice quivering as she tried to control her emotions, following the confirmation of the man’s Covid-19 test results.


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The man was swabbed for Covid-19 testing after he went to the West Metro Medical Center on March 16 for mild symptoms of the respiratory disease. “We are saddened by the confirmation of Zamboanga’s first Covid-19 positive patient,” West Metro Medical Center said, adding, the patient was sent home with medications and instructions after swab sample was taken.

“Contact with other persons at our institution was minimized. Since he presented with mild symptoms, following the Department of Health Algorithm, he was sent home with medications and instructions. The City Health Office and the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit were informed about this patient,” it said.

The local government imposed the quarantine this month to stop the spread of the virus that has infected hundreds of people in the country and had already killed over 2 dozen, mostly in metropolitan areas in Luzon which is now in total lockdown.

The Covid-19, now a global pandemic, broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December last year, and quickly spread to over 100 countries with China recording over 81,000 infections and more than 3,200 deaths.

Climaco told Zamboanga’s nearly one million residents to stay at home as precaution against the virus now threatening public health following the recent death of a 57-year old woman from acute respiratory failure at a private hospital and the mounting number of “people under investigation”, or PUIs, and “people under monitoring”, of PUMs.

A PUI is a person that shows symptoms of cough, colds and fever with a travel or contact history to countries or person that is affected with Covid-19, and being admitted in the hospital for observation. While PUM is a person with travel and contact history to countries or person that is affected with Covid-19 but not displayed any symptoms and is advised to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine at home to be monitored by health workers.

The local government has imposed a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Shops, offices and schools are also closed, except for pharmacies, supermarkets, grocery stores, markets, bakeries, medical clinics, delivery services, water stations, food and medical manufacturing and processing plants, money shops, commercial banks, utilities and telecommunication facilities and some restaurants which are strictly selling only food-to-go. (Zamboanga Post)



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