COVID19-positive air passenger who tampered RT-PCR surrenders

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 26 Jan) – An air passenger confirmed to be positive of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) who had been wanted for tampering his swab result to make it appear that he was cleared of the infection, surrendered to authorities around 10 p.m. on Monday.

Arriving passengers at the Davao International Airport. MindaNews file photo by MANMAN DEJETO

Frederick P. Grande, who presented a tampered reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result upon arrival at the Davao International Airport (DIA) last January 23, turned himself in shortly after the City Government of Davao announced that authorities were looking for his whereabouts as he was actually positive of COVID-19.

“It was discovered that he tampered with his RT PCR test result to indicate that he is negative of COVID-19. An email from the testing center proved that he faked the result,” a post from the official Facebook account of the City Government of Davao said.

City Tourism Operations Office head Generose Tecson, who is also concurrent head of the Airport Health Monitoring Team, said in a text message on Tuesday that the personnel tasked to check the documents of arriving air passengers held Grande while verifying his RT-PCR test result from the testing center.

But she added that authorities released the passenger as “the laboratory from where he got his result did not respond immediately” but advised him to strictly comply with a 14-day home quarantine.

The city government received the response of the COVID-19 laboratory two days after sending Grande home, according to Tecson.

Authorities could not contact Grande as he misdeclared his address and contact information, according to the city government.

“It seems that he had already planned to hide,” Tecson said, adding that cases of falsification of documents will be filed against him.

Angel Sumagaysay, the Head of the Public Security and Safety Command Center (PSSCC), said the city government has filed cases against 10 out of 33 persons who presented fake and/or tampered RT-PCR test results.

The free COVID-19 swab tests at the DIA has been suspended since January 13 to “redirect resources to address the post-holiday surge of COVID-19 cases.” Free COVID-19 testing will resume once Los Amigos COVID-19 Laboratory of the city government in Tugbok District starts to operate.

Residents and non-residents are no longer required to present RT-PCR test results issued within 24 to 72 hours before the scheduled flight to Davao, but those with “negative” virus tests are prioritized for exit from the airport after checking their health declaration forms.

The local government appealed to neighboring local government units to fetch their residents from the airport.

For residents without negative RT-PCR test results, the local government monitors their compliance with the requirements, and will be given health monitoring forms because they need to check in with their respective Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)