150 Negros Oriental fishers sent home after 21-day quarantine
DUMAGUETE CITY –– At least 150 fishermen from Negros Oriental were sent home after they completed their 21-day quarantine at a school here on Friday.
The fishermen, locally known as “pescadores,” were isolated since May 21 after being stranded aboard fishing vessel Phillip D.R. which came from a fishing expedition in Luzon.
The captain of the vessel was earlier diagnosed with the disease and had died in Manila.
Since 13 of their companions tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the 150 fishermen had to extend their quarantine from the usual 14 days to 21 days.
Upon release, they were given their clearance certificates and relief goods before they were sent back to their respective hometowns.
Dr. Liland Estacion, assistant provincial health officer, said it would be up to the local government units (LGU) to let the fishermen undergo other health protocols of their own.
One LGU, she said, opted to let the returning fishermen undergo another 14-day quarantine.
Estacion, however, assured neighbors of the fishermen that they were all cleared of the coronavirus.
“We will not discriminate them (fishermen) because they are all humans. Before we dispatched them, we screened and observed them properly while they were under quarantine. Let us not discriminate them because it will only create panic and conflict,” said Estacion in Cebuano.
As of Friday evening, 12 other fishermen were still under isolation at a government quarantine facility here.
One fisherman, who tested negative of the virus twice, was transferred to another facility intended for recovering patients, said provincial information officer Bimbo Miraflor.
Estacion told reporters that health authorities are now “widening” the investigation on the latest coronavirus infection in Negros Oriental involving a 39-year-old female patient from Barangay Bagacay in Dumaguete City.
As of Friday, she admitted that they have not yet traced how the patient got the coronavirus. The newest infection is neither an overseas Filipino worker nor a locally stranded individual, who was repatriated into the province. She also had no travel history outside Dumaguete City.
Negros Oriental has 18 active COVID-19 cases.
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