‘Di kami sumuway’: Expert says Cebu’s swab-upon-arrival policy a ‘double safety measure’

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 15 2021 07:44 AM

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MANILA—Cebu is implementing a "double safety measure" by testing returning Filipinos at Mactan-Cebu International Airport upon arrival to halt the spread of COVID-19, a health expert said Tuesday.

"Gusto lang namin i-clarify. Hindi po talaga kami sumuway sa IATF guidelines bagkos meron lang kaming konting in-innovate dito dahil napansin po namin at alam po naman natin na kailangan din nating higpitan," Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, chief pathologist and spokesperson of Department of Health in Central Visayas, told Teleradyo's "Sakto".

(We want to clarify that we didn't break IATF guidelines. Rather we innovated it because we needed tighter measure.)

President Rodrigo Duterte has directed Cebu province to abide by the national government's testing and quarantine protocols for returning Filipinos.

Cebu previously tested passengers upon arrival at the airport. The IATF requires this screening on the seventh day of travelers' quarantine.

The task force also requires all travelers to undergo 14-day quarantine upon arrival, the first 10 days to be observed at a quarantine facility, with the remainder to be completed under home quarantine.

Loreche said Cebu was still testing returning Filipinos on the seventh day to ensure they were cleared of the disease.

"'Pag titingnan natin 'yong datos (If you look at the data) on the ground . . . merong nagpo-positive (there are those testing positive) upon arrival, may nagpo-positive ding iba doon sa Day 7. So, we're just implementing a double safety measure here," she said.

As of June 14, Cebu has logged nearly 16,000 coronavirus infections, of which 736 have died from the respiratory illness. The province currently has 473 active cases or patients deemed infectious.

In the interview, Loreche also touted Cebu's improving COVID-19 situation as its critical care utilization rate went down to 19.7 percent.

Of the 862 hospitals beds allocated for COVID-19 patients, some 170 were currently occupied.

"We are already serving patients not just from One Cebu but even from surrounding o karatig nating probinsiya (provinces)," she said.

Cebu is under modified general community quarantine, the loosest of 4 lockdown levels, for the past 10 months.