3 Batanes residents who defied travel ban, held in jail-turned-quarantine room
ITBAYAT, BATANES –– Three residents, who violated a travel ban by returning home via the capital town, Basco, were detained briefly on Friday (Mar. 13) at this island town’s correctional facility which has been converted into a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) quarantine facility.
Mayor Raul de Sagon escorted them from the disembarkation area to the holding facility at the town’s outskirts to undergo a medical examination and to provide doctors their travel history.
The travel ban was imposed by the Interagency Anti-COVID-19 Task Force as a precaution against the spread of the virus.
The doctors listed them as persons under monitoring (PUM) and were released for supervised home quarantine after authorities concluded that they did not show COVID-19 symptoms and have returned from areas that have a low risk of community transmission.
One of the residents was a 31-year-old seaman who flew back to Manila from Amsterdam in The Netherlands on January 16, said Ma. Jennifer Robillios, medical officer of the Itbayat District Hospital.
The seaman said he had completed a quarantine period, which his recruitment agency had required, before he flew to Basco on March 5.
Robillios said the seaman passed the initial mandatory quarantine but had not completed the 14-day quarantine required before entering Itbayat. Because he was asymptomatic, the seaman was allowed to undergo self-quarantine at a small hut within his family compound.
Robillios also interviewed a couple, both aged over 50 years, who left Itbayat in late February and had intended to fly back through the airport in Tuguegarao City on March 8. Because they could not book a Basco-flight there, they took a plane home to Batanes at the Clark International Airport.
The couple landed in Basco on March 12, and took a “faluwa (motorboat ferry)” at 6 a.m. on Friday, accompanied by their son, a nurse.
The couple was classified as low-risk, Robillios said, and were accompanied in their travels by their son, a trained health worker.
Two other “faluwa” passengers, who flew in from Tuguegarao City, were persuaded to disembark in Basco by the crewmen and the Coast Guard because they had not yet submitted to mandatory quarantine protocols./lzb
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