Thursday, January 13, 2022

Dozens of travellers turn up Covid positive in Zambo

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Dozens of travellers were held Wednesday in the southern Philippine city of Zamboanga after testing positive for Covid-19.

Eight overseas workers who arrived along with 156 passengers at the Zamboanga International Airport were positive for the deadly respiratory virus after undergoing Rapid Antigen Test and 116 others had expired RT-PCR test results.

The local government said at least 32 boat passengers who arrived here from Manila and Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental province were also tested positive for Covid-19.

It said the City Health Office conducted Rapid Antigen Tests to the passengers at the Port of Zamboanga. The boat had 613 passengers, but the City Health Office said it tested a total of 245 passengers.

Mayor Beng Climaco has cautioned residents following the sudden spike in the number of active Covid-19 cases here and ordered stricter health protocols on the entry of travellers effective Wednesday. 

Climaco, citing local health records, said the Covid-19 cases has shot up from just under 100 in December. “With the increasing trend in cases in the city and elsewhere in the country, the public is urged anew to continue practicing minimum health standards and to get vaccinated the soonest possible time,” she said. 

The increase in Covid-19 infections occurred after the Yuletide holidays when the National Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) eased the country’s quarantine protocols which allowed people to move freely only to recall the order following the dramatic spike in Covid-19 cases - believed due to the Omicron variant - in the National Capital Region and neighboring provinces. 

Salazar, who heads the local IATF-MEID, said due to the threat of Omicron variant, all travellers entering Zamboanga City whether vaccinated or not must present a negative RT-PCR or Rapid Antigen test results if they come from high-risk areas or those places under Alert Levels 3, 4 and 5.  Zamboanga City is currently under Alert Level 2. 

She said fully vaccinated travellers who come from areas with high alert levels also need to present their identification and vaccine cards, including their S-PASS short for Safe, Swift, and Smart Passage Digital Travel Management System. And for fully vaccinated travellers coming from areas under Alert Levels 1 and 2 only need to present their identification and vaccines cards, and S-PASS. 

“All the requirements shall be presented to the border personnel upon arrival. Inbound travellers, regardless of vaccination status, may be subjected to random Rapid Antigen testing upon entry through the airport, seaport or land borders,” the mayor said. 

The IAT-MEID imposed the new community quarantine classifications across the country in November last year. 

The following are the Alert Level System for Covid-19 response: Alert Level 1 refers to areas wherein case transmission is low and decreasing, total bed utilization rate, and intensive care unit utilization rate is low. Alert Level 2 refers to areas wherein case transmission is low and decreasing, healthcare utilization is low, or case counts are low but increasing, or case counts are low and decreasing but total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate is increasing. 

Alert Level 3 refers to areas wherein case counts are high and/or increasing, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at increasing utilization.Alert Level 4 refers to areas wherein case counts are high and/or increasing, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at high utilization. And Alert Level 5 refers to areas where case counts are alarming, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at critical utilization. (Mindanao Examiner) 

 



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