South Cotabato personnel closely monitoring passengers of ‘sweeper’ flight from Cebu

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 10 June) – Health personnel in South Cotabato are closely monitoring passengers from the area of a “sweeper” flight from Cebu last May 31 that was linked to four confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases so far.

Hannah Ebeo, health education and promotion officer of the Integrated Provincial Health Office, said Wednesday they subjected to swab collection several passengers of the Cebu Pacific Air 5J251 flight for Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test.

Ebeo said they prioritized them for the test to ensure that any possible case of COVID-19 from the same special flight will immediately be isolated and contained.

Two passengers from this city and one each from South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat have already tested positive for the disease.

The “sweeper” flight, which was arranged by the provincial government of South Cotabato, had a total 102 passengers. Most of them were locally-stranded individuals (LSI) from the province.

“Their swabs were scheduled for testing today (Wednesday) and Friday,” Ebeo said in a press briefing.

She said the RT-PCR tests will be conducted at the newly-opened COVID-19 testing laboratory of the Dr. Arturo P. Pingoy Medical Center in Koronadal City.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the province has already recorded seven confirmed COVID-19 cases but four of the patients have already recovered. Two of three active cases were returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from Manila and one was an LSI from Cebu.

Ebeo said the patients were all in stable condition, with two undergoing observation in separate isolation facilities and one admitted at the province’s COVID-19 hospital in Surallah town.

She said the 34-year-old female OFW from Koronadal City, who returned home last May 30, was just waiting to complete the mandatory isolation and quarantine.

The 24-year-old pregnant LSI from Tampakan town delivered her baby last Saturday and both were in good condition, she said.

Ebeo said the latest case, the 29-year-old OFW from Tantangan town who arrived last May 29, has so far recovered from her cough.

She added that the three will undergo repeat RT-PCR tests for COVID-19 after 14 days. (MindaNews)