32 passengers of boat from Manila test positive for COVID in Zamboanga

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 13 January) — Thirty-two of the 613 passengers of a ship from Manila were found positive for COVID-19 based on rapid antigen tests that were done upon their arrival at the Zamboanga Port on Wednesday night.

The ship, SMA-2GO, docked in Dumaguete City before proceeding to Zamboanga.

Of the 613 passengers, 245 underwent the tests upon arrival, as required by Executive Order No. BC 704-1022 which re-imposes the RT-PCR requirement for inbound travelers who are coming from areas with higher alert level status.

“They (those who tested positive) are undergoing confirmatory RT-PCR tests today (Thursday),” City Health Officer Dr. Dulce Miravite said.

She said the rapid antigen tests were conducted by the City Health Office (CHO) and the Bureau of Quarantine.

“After contact tracing, food assistance will be given to families that will be placed on lockdown,” City Social Welfare and Development Officer Socorro Rojas said. 

CHO personnel said that of the 613 passengers, 336 were from Jolo, 187 from Zamboanga City, 13 from Zamboanga del Norte, 11 from Zamboanga Sibugay, 9 from Lamitan, and 1 from Tawi-Tawi. The addresses of the remaining 56 individuals remain unknown. 

Jolo-bound passengers were not tested, as they were attended to by personnel of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), the CHO said. 

Reacting to this development, City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco cited the need to impose stricter measures as the city is an entry hub of returning overseas Filipinos from Sabah. (Frencie Carreon/MindaNews)