Returning North Cotabato residents to undergo COVID-19 rapid testing

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 15 June) – The provincial government of North Cotabato will subject returning residents to a rapid diagnostic testing in line with the fight to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Gov. Nancy Catamco said Monday.

On Monday, some 170 residents stranded in Metro Manila arrived at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City aboard an Air Asia sweeper flight contracted by the provincial government.

The provincial government was expecting the arrival of 150 and 130 more stranded residents on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, using the same route.

Catamco said the tests will give residents a “feeling of security and safety that there will be no local transmission of the virus.”

She noted that the COVID-19 cases in the province were all “imported,” meaning the patients were already infected with the virus upon arrival and that they have travel history to Metro Manila, Davao and Cebu, which have high cases of infection.

Catamco earlier said the province has enough rapid testing kits, some provided by the national government, which they could use to test returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and locally-stranded individuals (LSIs).

So far, the Task Force Sagip Stranded North Cotabateños has facilitated the return of at least 2,500 ROFs and LSIs, many of them students.

The task force was working out the return of 6,000 more LSIs and ROFs to the province.