32 foreigners, locals in Siargao arrested for violating quarantine, curfew

GENERAL LUNA, Siargao Island (MindaNews / 21 March) — Authorities have arrested at least 32 persons, a dozen of them foreigners who refused to stay home Friday night despite the intense campaign to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Police Capt. Vicent Wise Panuelos, the chief of police of General Luna said those arrested spent the night at the police station and in the prison cell “for failing to abide by the preventive community quarantine measures and curfew hours.”

The curfew is from 9 p.m to 5 a.,m

Health workers of Siargao Island examine incoming tourists at Dapa Port on Thursday, 13 February 2020 for the dreaded coronavirus disease. MindaNews photo by ROEL N. CATOTO

Panuelos said the recalcitrant ones were locked up in the cell while the rest spent the night around the police station, observing social distancing.

“These people are still outside the house even when everything was closed late at night,” he said.

The police chief released them Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, at least 600 visitors, mostly foreigners, are stranded on the island, many of them in the surfing capital town.

The provincial government has issued an order to let them out of the island as part of the preventive community quarantine against COVID-19.

But since March 18, all passenger flights and boats plying to and from Siargao Island have been suspended.

The Rural Health Unit of General Luna has recorded a total of 269 Persons Under Monitoring and no confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Of the 269 PUMs a total of 16 have finished their 14 day self-quarantine. (Roel Catoto / MindaNews)