OFW is Eastern Samar’s first COVID-19 patient
BORONGAN CITY – Eastern Samar has recorded its first coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) case.
In a livestreamed video, Gov. Ben Evardone said the province’s first confirmed COVID-19 patient is 30-year old man from the municipality of Mercedes.
The Provincial Health Office said the patient is an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who arrived in Cebu from Singapore.
He boarded a ship from Cebu to Hilongos, Leyte on June 6 and arrived in Tacloban City via shuttle bus on same day.
He was transported by Mercedes local government unit vehicle from Tacloban on June 7 and was brought to the town’s isolation facility.
The patient is in stable condition, but due to some underlying medical condition, was transferred to the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center in Tacloban City.
The Provincial Health Office said all direct contacts of the patient have already been isolated and will undergo a swab test on Sunday.
While waiting for the result of the contact tracing, the nearby municipality of Guiuan, which is the commercial center in the southern part of the province, has decided to close its border for 48 hours – from 6:00 a.m. on June 14 to 6:00 a.m. of June 16.
Fr. Ruben Baquilod also announced that religious services in Mercedes will again be held behind closed doors until the COVID-19 case in the municipality is resolved.
Evardone asked the people to remain calm as the provincial government and Mercedes town officials are doing their best to contain the spread of the virus.
He also appealed to those who plan to go home from Manila and other places outside the province to defer their travel plans, if possible.
“If ever you could not help it, please coordinate with the province and the local government units. Don’t hire private vehicles and boats or hide inside delivery trucks for your own safety,” Evardone said.
For about three months, Eastern Samar remained without any case of COVID-19 due to strict observance and implementation of IATF and Department of Health (DOH) protocols.
Rep. Maria Fe Abunda of the lone district of Eastern Samar said it is, however, not the time to blame each other.
Instead, she said, people in the region should continue observing the health protocols such as wearing of face masks and the practice of physical distancing to prevent the spread of the virus.
“After three months of religiously following DOH guidelines our most feared moment has come. However, this is not the time for blaming and pointing fingers but for unity and discipline,” she said in a social media post.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.