Provinces take precautions as returning OFWs test positive for coronavirus
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – As lockdowns were lifted, provinces took precautions as returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease.
Four repatriated seafarers from Negros Occidental and one from Aklan were found to be infected after their home provinces got them tested, a precaution many local government units (LGUs) have taken to prevent the spread of the disease.
Many LGUs have also opted to conduct Real Time-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests after rapid anti-body tests proved less reliable. In Cebu, OFWs who were negative for coronavirus using anti-body test kits in Manila turned out to be positive carriers after confirmatory tests using PCR machines were conducted in the province.
4 seafarers test positive in Negros Occidental
In Negros Occidental, 4 seafarers tested positive for coronavirus. They were among the province's 17 coronavirus cases, a total that included the 6 cases from Bacolod City.
A 29-year-old female La Castellana resident who arrived from Brazil on March 31 and a 43-year-old Escalante City resident who arrived from Dubai on March 18 were the first seafarers in the province to test positive for the disease.
Both residents, who worked in cruise ships, were asymptomatic when they arrived in the province on April 28.
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said they were immediately quarantined in the provincial government-owned facility in E.B. Magalona town.
In Bacolod City, a 42-year-old male resident of Barangay Villamonte and a 27-year-old female resident of Barangay Granada were also among the seafarers who tested positive for the disease.
They also returned to the province on April 28 and were immediately quarantined at a tourist inn, where other repatriated OFWs were isolated.
Female seafarer in Aklan test positive
In Aklan, a 30-year-old female seafarer from Banga town was the province's latest case of infection. She was also the first confirmed case of OFW from the province to get the disease.
She was among 37 stranded OFWs who came home from Manila aboard a 2GO ship. They disembarked on April 29 at Fort San Pedro in Iloilo City, where various local government units fetched their residents.
Provincial health officer Dr. Cornelio Cuachon Jr said all the OFWs from Aklan were immediately swabbed for samples and were required to undergo two weeks of quarantine at a local hotel in Kalibo.
"OFWs were tested with rapid antibody test kits in Manila, they were asymptomatic. They were billeted in a quarantine facility in Kalibo after their RT-PCR tests," Cuachon said in a press briefing on May 5.
The results returned on Tuesday, May 5, from the Western Visayas Medical Center. The 30-year-old woman was the only one in the group of OFWs who tested positive for coronavirus so far.
The province was still waiting for the results of 20 others.
Aklan has total 7 cases as of Wednesday, May 6. – Rappler.com