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About 8 LSIs at Rizal stadium test positive for coronavirus

/ 04:13 PM July 27, 2020

Thousands of locally stranded individuals are being gathered at the baseball stadium of Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila on July 24, 2020 for the 2nd batch of “Hatid Tulong program” of the national government that will bring them back to their home province this weekend amid the coronavirus pandemic. They were previously put in temporary shelter at the Philippine Army Gymnasium, Villamor Air Base Elementary School and Manila Science High School while others are walk-in. They will undergo rapid test tomorrow before the trip.
RICHARD A. REYES / INQUIRER file photo

MANILA, Philippines — Eight to nine locally stranded individuals (LSIs), who are cramming at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, have been tested positive for coronavirus following rapid tests done over the weekend.

This after the public criticized the lack of physical distancing being implemented at the venue.

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“On the context that we were able to give them or implement medical protocols and rapid tests, only to find out that the number that we were able to send off, which is around 4,000, only around 8 to 9 persons were tested positive of the rapid test,” “Hatid Tulong” program lead convenor and Presidential Management Staff Assistant Secretary Joseph Encabo said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel on Monday.

He said the LSIs who tested positive in rapid tests were immediately brought to isolation areas and were subjected to confirmatory swab tests facilitated by personnel of the Department of Health.

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“Once the result is negative on the confirmatory swab test, we allow them to travel based on the assessment and evaluation of the medical doctors. If they are tested positive, we have an available quarantine facility in place and [we will] bring them there, and the DOH will handle the management of those LSIs who tested positive on swab tests,” said Encabo.

He said that those who have come in close contact with them were also recorded and that the receiving local government units have already been informed. They will also be subjected to swab tests and undergo a 14-day quarantine.

Thousands of LSIs have flocked to the stadium to avail of the “Hatid Tulong” program, the government’s free transportation assistance to ferry stranded individuals to their home provinces amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Encabo explained that the LSIs had to be accommodated at the stadium to protect them from rain and intense heat while waiting in the queue.

“The moment that we noticed that the rain is about to fall, we invited them inside the stadium and took refuge and shelter. That’s the least that we could do somehow. That’s the least that we could offer because we have to protect these LSIs on heavy downpour and at the same time intense heat of the sun while waiting outside,” he said.

“Because of the unavoidable circumstances, it’s a decision between choosing the lesser evil and we really have to give them the shelter and temporary refuge inside the stadium,” he added.

In a media forum, Health Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the incident has been relayed to the Department of the Interior and Local Government and other concerned government agencies, and is expected to be tackled by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Tuesday.

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JPV

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TAGS: coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, COVID-19 Philippines, hatid tulong program, health crisis, Joseph Encabo, LSI, pandemic, stranded individuals
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