15 people may have been infected by COVID-positive woman who skipped quarantine
MANILA, Philippines — The Filipino woman who skipped quarantine after returning from the United States may have infected around 15 people, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said on Thursday in an interview over ABS-CBN’s “Teleradyo,”
Año said the woman arrived in the Philippines on Dec. 22 from Los Angeles, California.
She then went out of her quarantine hotel to meet up with friends in Barangay Poblacion, a place popular for its bars and restaurants, in Makati.
“The problem is that those who were with her during dinner and in the bars are now also positive,” Año said, speaking in a mix of Filipino and English. “I don’t know the exact figure. But the word is that 15 have tested positive. We have to confirm that.”
It was still not determined if the woman was infected with the Omicron variant.
“Many of those who partied with her turned out to be positive. Many of them already have symptoms. We still don’t know if it is Omicron because we don’t have the results yets of her genome sequencing,” Año said.
He confirmed that CCTV footage showed the woman getting out of her quarantine hotel.
He added that the incident was already under investigation by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police.
The woman was supposed to have her swab test taken on Dec. 26, the last day of her five-day quarantine after arriving from the US.
Año noted this as another indication that she violated protocols.
The woman then tested positive for COVID-19.
According to Año, the woman needs to be held accountable for violating both the government’s quarantine protocols and the guidelines.
The quarantine hotel she stayed at, which Año identified as the Berjaya Makati Hotel, could also be liable for failing to supervise a person under quarantine.
“That is not allowed. You accepted an accreditation and are making money out of it. But it turns out that you are not really following the rules of the quarantine protocols. So the hotel is will have to answer for that,” Año said.
He added that the DILG was also validating reports of people paying hotels to temporarily get out of quarantine.
Earlier, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said that the woman “boasted of having connections” after skipping quarantine and attending a party in Makati.
Currently, only four cases of Omicron variant infection have been reported by the Department of Health (DOH).
On Thursday, the DOH reported 1,623 new COVID-19 infections, the highest number it registered since Nov. 21 and almost double the number of the previous day’s.
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