West Visayas execs want COVID-19 retest for all returning residents
ILOILO CITY, Iloilo, Philippines — Returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will continue to undergo mandatory quarantine and testing upon arrival in Western Visayas, as local officials continue to raise alarm on the rising cases of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the region.
Officials from Iloilo and Negros provinces earlier opposed the implementation of an Aug. 19 guideline of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, which exempted returning OFWs from retesting and mandatory quarantine once they return to their home provinces and towns.
In a meeting with Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. and mayors of Iloilo province on Monday, Jose Roberto Nuñez, chair of the Regional Task Force Against COVID-19, said returning residents would be immediately placed under quarantine, following the latest resolution, dated Aug. 31, of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
The mayors, led by San Enrique Mayor Rosario Mediatrix Fernandez, president of the Iloilo chapter of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, said doing away with mandatory quarantine and retesting would risk more infection in their localities.
Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said: “We will be wasting all our hardships if we follow the rule that all [returning OFWs] can return to their respective houses immediately upon arrival.”
Several local governments in the region have called for the suspension of the transport of returnees to allow their health personnel to recover and to prepare isolation facilities.
Some of those who had tested negative for COVID-19 before leaving Metro Manila, they said, had turned out to be infected when they were tested again during arrival in the region.
—Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
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