Higher-ups gag DOH-Central Visayas
CEBU CITY – The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) is no longer permitted by its higher-ups to issue statements to the media following its stance supporting Cebu province’s policy for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and residents returning from abroad.
“As of the moment, DOH-7 is not issuing statements on the matter,” said Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson of DOH-7, on Friday.
Loreche’s statement came after she, together with Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, appeared at the Senate and House of Representatives this week to share Cebu’s protocols on the government’s COVID-19 response and existing quarantine protocols.
An executive order issued by Garcia and an ordinance of the provincial board requires OFWs and residents returning from abroad to undergo a swab test upon arrival at the Mactan Cebu International Airport and to go on hotel quarantine for a period of only two to three days.
On the other hand, the current national policy mandates a 10-day quarantine and swabbing on the seventh day from arrival.
The provincial board later amended its ordinance and ordered those from abroad to undergo another test on the seventh day after their arrival and while they are on “facility or home” quarantine.
The conflicting policies resulted in the diversion of international flights from the Mactan Cebu International Airport to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from May 29 to June 12.
When the flights returned to Cebu last June 13, the “swab-upon-arrival” policy of the province was still implemented despite an order of President Duterte to follow the protocol of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging and Infectious Disease.
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