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150 fishers back in Negros Oriental after extended 21-day quarantine

WAITING GAME. Clutching their clearance certificates, these fishermen await further instructions from local officials. —PNA.GOV.PH

DUMAGUETE CITY, Negros Oriental, Philippines —The 150 fishermen from Negros Oriental who were stranded aboard a vessel, helmed by a captain who tested positive and eventually died of COVID-19, have been sent home after completing their 21-day quarantine at a school here on Friday.

The fishermen had been isolated since May 21 after being stranded onboard the fishing vessel Phillip D.R. which came from a fishing expedition in Luzon.

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The captain of the vessel had died of the severe respiratory disease in Manila.

With 13 of their companions also testing positive for the new coronavirus, the fishermen were quarantined for 21 days instead of the usual 14 days.

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Upon release, they were given clearance certificates and relief goods before being sent back to their respective hometowns.

Dr. Liland Estacion, assistant provincial health officer, said it would be up to their local government units (LGU) to decide whether or not the fishermen would 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 new coronavirus.

“Before we dispatched them, we had screened and observed them properly while they were under quarantine. Let us not discriminate against them because it will only create panic and conflict,” Estacion said.

As of Friday evening, 12 other fishermen were still under quarantine here.

One fisherman, who had tested negative of the virus twice, was transferred to another facility intended for recovering patients.

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Estacion said 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.

The health officer said they had yet to trace how the patient got the coronavirus. She is neither an overseas Filipino worker nor a locally stranded individual repatriated to the province. She also has no travel history outside Dumaguete City.

Negros Oriental currently has 18 active coronavirus infections.

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For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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TAGS: coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, Negros Oriental COVID19 cases, quarantined fishermen
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