DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 9 April) – A call center agent of a business process outsourcing company here who was suspected of having contracted the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) died on Wednesday evening, City Mayor Sara Duterte said.
In an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR) 87.5 on Thursday, Duterte said initial laboratory test showed that the patient tested negative for Covid-19 but added confirmatory testing would be done to validate the result.
“It’s very sad. Our deepest sympathy to the family of this call center employee who passed,” she said.
The call center agent, who had worked for the same company for almost four years, succumbed to complications from his respiratory ailments, she said.
Duterte read in part the letter sent to her by the BPO company, which says: “After a short hospital stay, his condition unexpectedly worsened. He passed on the evening of April 8, 2020, and it is important to note that he had a complicated health history and suffered from a number of respiratory ailments.”
“He was not running a fever or exhibiting symptoms of Covid-9, but then again, he was tested again because he had respiratory ailments,” she said.
She added the result of the confirmatory test has yet to be released.
She said the BPO company immediately implemented quarantine procedures, placing the nine workers who came in direct contact with the deceased employee in isolation.
According to the Department of Health-Davao, the Davao Region reported 86 Covid-19 patients. Davao City reported 69, Davao del Norte 10, Davao del Sur 2, Davao de Oro 2, Davao Oriental 3, and Davao Occidental 0.
Of the total number of Covid-19 patients, 40 have already recovered and 13 died.
The entire city was placed under a 15-day enhanced community quarantine effective 9 p.m. of April 4 until 11:59 p.m. of April 19 to control the spread of Covid-19.
Under Section 17 of EO 20 released by Duterte last month, which adopted provisions of Memorandum Circular 20-08 Series 2020 of the Department of Trade Industry issued on March 19, BPO/call centers must either enforce “skeletal workforce with social distancing and appropriate temporary accommodation arrangements within the vicinity and with shuttle service” or “work from home arrangements.”
She warned non-compliant companies would be immediately closed if their managements would not adhere to either of the two options because “the BPOs are considered a mass gathering. If one of them gets sick they can infect others because of the character of COVID-19, which is highly contagious.” (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)