2,000 jeepney, tricycle drivers undergo Covid-19 rapid tests in Cotabato City

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 26 June) – Two thousand jeepney and tricycle drivers availed of mandatory but free rapid tests for Covid-19 by the City Health Office on Thursday.

Dr. Meyasser Patadon, city health officer, said two drivers turned out positive and were immediately placed on isolation subjected to confirmatory tests.

A medical technician at the City Health Office in Cotabato City draws blood sample from a tricycle driver for a Covid-19 rapid test on Thursday (25 June 2020). MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA

“They were from Maguindanao but making a living as drivers in Cotabato City,” Patadon said.

The swab test on one of the two drivers, a resident of Datu Piang town, yielded a negative result.

Health officials were still waiting for the swab test result of the other driver, a resident of Datu Odin Sinsuat town.

As of Thursday, Cotabato City has 15 confirmed cases 13 of whom have recovered. The two remaining cases were reported to be in stable and healthy condition and were expected to be released next week.

Patadon said health protocols will be strengthened at the airport in Awang, Dau Odin Sinsuat as flights are slowly resuming their regular schedules.

He said they will use the contact tracing app called Covid-Kaya, and with the help of the Department of Health and nongovernment organizations will download it to barangay health stations.

“This expanded testing, catering to high risk groups or individual is part of our efforts to detect, isolate and treat strategy to contain Covid pandemic,” he said.

Alex Gudas, a jeepney driver, said he availed of the free testing not because it was required but because it will give him a clean bill of health.

Agilan Abdillah, a tricycle driver, also cease hauling passengers to avail of the rapid test.

“This is a good government project, we are always exposed and we are vulnerable,” Agilan Abdillah, a tricycle driver, said.

Both Gudas and Abdilla tested negative for the virus.

The rules on modified general community quarantine allow public transport to operate but vehicles must only carry 50 percent at most of their sitting capacity to maintain physical distancing.

The city will next subject market vendors and media workers to free and voluntary rapid tests. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)