37 from Cebu held for quarantine; arrival caused stir in Zamboanga Sibugay
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—At least 37 persons who traveled home to Zamboanga Sibugay from Cebu City are currently held for quarantine in Ipil town, the province’s capital.
Their arrival on Thursday caused a stir in the province as local authorities and residents are worried they could be carrying the virus from Cebu City following reports of the surge in new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections there.
In an advisory issued Friday, Ipil town’s interagency task force on COVID-19 said the travelers from Cebu are now held in quarantine at the provincial hospital compound in Barangay Tenan.
The task force said it is the provincial government that is taking the lead in handling the situation.
Although the Ipil task force mentioned about 39 persons, a list of the travelers obtained by the Inquirer only listed 37.
The 37 were stranded in Cebu due to the lockdown imposed by the city government in an effort to contain the local spread of the coronavirus.
Five of them lived in Barrio Luz, the current epicenter of the infection in the city which has been placed on total lockdown as more cases were counted there on Friday.
Zamboanga Sibugay Governor Wilter Palma earlier asked Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia to allow his stranded constituents to travel by boat to either Dipolog or Dapitan.
Palma also asked Zamboanga del Norte Governor Roberto Uy to allow them a passage from the pier to their home province.
On Thursday morning, the travelers were fetched by an ambulance and two other vehicles at the Dipolog port and traveled straight to Zamboanga Sibugay.
However, personnel at the quarantine checkpoint in Titay town, at the border between Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Norte, refused them entry as they don’t have quarantine passes.
Checkpoint personnel also did not know about the circumstances of their travel, hence, they have to pass the night at the border.
The Titay local government provided them food and even arranged for a possible quarantine site within the town.
In a letter to Palma, Dr. Noel Herrera, president of the Zamboanga Sibugay Medical Society, said that “in the interest of public health and the greater good” of the province’s people, the 37 travelers must be quarantined for 21 days and be subjected to testing for COVID-19 infection.
Herrera also said that the 37 should not be allowed to head to their respective hometowns.
On Friday, the 37 travelers were brought to the provincial hospital compound in Barangay Tenan of Ipil town to be quarantined.
Also advised for isolation are the drivers of the three vehicles used to ferry the travelers from Dipolog City.
The travelers from Cebu include 16 from Ipil town, two from Alicia, three from Kabasalan, six from Malangas, one from RT Lim, three from Naga, one from Titay, and five from Tungawan. (Ryan D. Rosauro, Inquirer Mindanao)
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