GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 14 March) — The entire coastal municipality of Glan in Sarangani province was placed under “partial community quarantine” for at least a month effective Saturday, March 14, as a precautionary measure against the bivek coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Glan Mayor Vivien Yap ordered the town quarantine through Executive Order (EO) No. 15 issued on Friday in the wake of an ongoing investigation and monitoring for COVID-19 of two Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) from Japan who had refused to undergo isolation.
A report from Glan Municipal Health Office (MHO) said the OFWs, who were reportedly Japanese descendants, arrived in Glan from Ibaraki-Ken, Japan last Feb. 29.
MHO personnel only learned of their arrival on March 10 and immediately launched an investigation.
But the two reportedly checked out from an inn in Poblacion, Glan and hastily left town last Thursday, March 12, to catch a flight from Davao City to Manila and back to Japan.
Yap, who is a doctor, clarified that the two OFWs did not escape from the municipal hospital but left the town before they could be placed on quarantine without properly informing concerned authorities.
She said the two, who were reportedly “uncooperative,” had visited a local beach resort with some friends and went home to their barangay where they had a “drinking session.”
The mayor said the six-year-old daughter, fiancé and the Grade 4 nephew of one of the OFWs have developed cough and colds.
“Sad as it may seem, they have gone out so much that if and when they’re going to be positive, that would be a headache for me,” she said in a report from the Provincial Information Office.
The two were tracked down by authorities on Friday at an inn in Davao City and sent to quarantine at Southern Philippines Medical Center.
Dr. Arvin Alejandro, Sarangani health officer, said one of them, a 27-year-old female, was considered a patient under investigation (PUI) after showing possible symptoms for COVID-19 and was subjected to testing.
He said the other female, 31, was listed as a person under monitoring and will end her quarantine on Sunday, March 15.
Alejandro said the daughter of the PUI was sent to a hospital here on Friday for isolation while the nephew and fiancé remained in Glan for monitoring.
In response to the situation, Mayor Yap ordered the suspension of classes at the Glan Central Elementary School and Glan School of Arts and Trades since on Thursday.
As to the “partial community quarantine, the mayor said it will remain in effect until April 14.
In her EO, she noted that residents “are discouraged to travel outside Glan not unless necessary.”
She said all local and foreign tourists who arrived in the country in the last 14 days will not be allowed entry and advised to undergo quarantine but not in Glan.
Tourists from nearby areas are only allowed to stay in local resorts for 24 hours and those who recently traveled to countries with confirmed cases of Covid-19 will be barred entry unless they have completed the 14-day quarantine, he said.
Yap said OFWs from Glan who are on vacation should submit themselves to mandatory quarantine.
The mayor said the municipal government and police will strictly implement a curfew from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Yap explained that the “partial community quarantine” is different from a lockdown.
“If we would go for a total lockdown, nobody from Glan can go out and nobody can enter either. But we cannot possibly do that for a month time because what about the food supply and the other needs of the people?” she added. (MindaNews)