CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 18 June) – The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Lanao del Sur has increased to 49 as of Thursday after six more returning residents tested positive of the disease, Bangsamoro Parliament Member Zia Alonto Adiong said.
Adiong, also the spokesperson of the Lanao del sur Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 said the cases include the nine residents who returned earlier.
He said all the patients tested positive based on the Xpert Express PCR tests and are now confined at the provincial isolation facility in Barangay Sagonsongan, Marawi City as of 8 a.m. Thursday.
The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 said there were 46 confirmed cases in Lanao del Sur as of 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Sheila Ganda of the Lanao del Sur IATF on COVID-19 said they are still awaiting the results of the Xpert Express PCR tests on 120 returning residents.
Ganda said 2,244 residents arrived in the province since last week despite appeals made by Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong to put a stop to the “Tulong-Hatid” program or the “Balik-Probinsiya, Bagong Pag-asa“ Program of the national government.
Gov. Adiong expressed concern that most of the COVID-19 cases recently recorded in the province were returning residents who availed of the program.
He said the national government should strengthen the health protocols in Manila before sending stranded individuals back to their provinces.
“Despite our appeal, the flow of returning residents did not stop,” Ganda said.
She said they are expecting hundreds more to arrive under the new “Hatid-Tulong” program once commercial flights resume before the end of this month.
She said they have fielded 35 vans to secure the new arrivals in the seaports of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro and Laguindingan Airport.
“We even posted our own phone numbers so we can coordinate with the new arrivals personally,” she said.
She added they have opened a Facebook page for the returning residents. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)