MANILA - Nearly 80 passengers of colorum vehicles going to Bicol Region from the National Capital Region (NCR) have tested positive for COVID-19, the Department of Transportation said Saturday.
The DOTr said in statement that 12 such vehicles operating without a franchise were caught ferrying these passengers to Bicol on Thursday and Friday, April 1-2.
On these days, 7 passengers tested positive for COVID-19 and were sent immediately to isolation facilities, the department said.
According to the Bicol Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), 79 individuals traveling via colorum vehicles contracted the deadly disease.
Authorities said dispatchers of illegal transport vehicles look for passengers on social media for online booking. Once they've filled up their shuttles, drivers reportedly pick up their passengers from their homes.
DOTr Sec. Arthur Tugade called on drivers of such vehicles to stop such operations.
"Hindi ho tayo uusad sa ating laban kontra sa COVID kung tahasan nating nilalabag ang mga quarantine protocols. Isantabi muna natin ang pansariling interes para isalba ang buhay ng nakararami," he said.
Due to the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna, travel from these areas to other regions in the country are prohibited to curb COVID-19 transmission.
Over the past days, the Philippines has reported record-highs in its daily tallies of COVID-19 cases.
The country's health department on Saturday recorded 12,576 new coronavirus infections, the country's second-highest confirmation since the pandemic reached the country early last year.
In a bulletin, the agency said total confirmed cases has increased to 784,043, of which, 165,715 are active, while confirmed deaths reached 13,423. The caseload is among the highest in Asia.