151 quarantined fishermen in NegOr sent home on Independence Day
DUMAGUETE CITY, June 15 (PIA) — Some 151 “pescadors” or fishermen who were placed in government-designated quarantine facility since their arrival in Negros Oriental were finally discharged by the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force-Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) after completing 21 days of quarantine.
The 151 pescadores were sent home to their respective cities and municipalities on June 12, 2020 which coincided with the nationwide observance of the 122nd anniversary of Philippine Independence.
“Karon adlawa gitagaan na gyud mo ug independence na makauli sa inyong tagsa-tagsa na kapanimalay (Today, you are finally free to go home),” said Dr. Liland Estacion, assistant provincial health officer and commander of the hospital incident command system, as she addressed the fishermen before they were discharged from the quarantine facility.
Estacion, together with Philippine Army 302nd Infantry Brigade Commander Col. Noel Baluyan and Provincial Covid-19 Task Force Executive Director Adrian Sedillo handed certificates of completion to the pescadores proving they have undergone 21 days of quarantine, and some relief goods in a simple ceremony.
Proper health protocols such as physical distancing, wearing of face masks, and disinfection of the venue were observed.
A team of the Provincial COVID-19 Task Force also disinfected the belongings of the fishermen while a team from the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) conducted Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT) as part of the health protocols.
The pescadores were part of the 164 fishermen who returned to the province on May 17 aboard the fishing vessel Philip D.R. after two months of fishing expedition in Palawan.
Their fishing vessel docked along the coast of San Jose town and they were given the “go signal” to disembark on May 21.
The pescadores were immediately brought to a government-quarantine facility for 14 days of quarantine.
However, 13 of them of them were found to be positive for COVID-19 infection.
This is the reason why their quarantine was extended from 14 to 21 days
Estacion noted the move was to monitor their health conditions.
The 13 infected fishermen were separated from the group and were put in another government-designated isolation facility.
Swab samples were also taken from the 151 fishermen and were sent to Cebu City for confirmatory tests and all of them yielded negative results.
With this, the Regional Epidemiological Surveillance Unit (RESU) of the Department of Health (DOH-7) gave the clearance to release them.
The 151 fishermen were fetched by their respective LGUs from the quarantine facility.
“Nalipay (ko na) gipagawas mi. Nagpasalamat ko sa atong kagamhanan dire. Nalipay pod ko tungod kay anha na ko sa akong kaugalingon (lugar) ug makakita ko sa akong mga apo (I am happy that we are finally allowed to go home. I am thankful also to the provincial government. I am excited to go back to my own place and to see my grandchildren),” said Pabling, one of the fishermen and a resident of Ayungon town.
Estacion appealed to the public to avoid discriminating the returning fishermen.
“Basin nahadlok mo na kani sila moabot na sa kanilang tagsa-tagsa na lokalidad. Dili lang ta mahadlok nila. We will not discriminate them. Before namo sila gipapauli, giayo namo sila ug screen. Giayo namo sila ug while they are on quarantine. Ang amo lang hangyo nila, ayaw lang i-discriminate sila kay it will create panic (Maybe some of them are afraid that these will people will return to their respective localities. There’s nothing to worry about. Let’s not discriminate them. We have screened them thoroughly before sending them home. They were carefully observed while on quarantine. So my appeal to the public is to avoid discriminating them because it will create panic and it will create a commotion in the community),” Estacion said.
She added that these fishermen will still have to undergo health protocols in their respective cities or municipalities.
In a separate interview with her on June 13, Estacion disclosed that some of them are asking her why they still have to undergo quarantine in their respective LGUs when they have already been placed under quarantine for 21 days.
In response, she reiterated to them that they must abide with the protocols of each LGU.
However, some LGU officials have informed her that they will be placed in a designated quarantine facility for four to five days only.
Meanwhile, the PIATF-EID announced on June 14 through the Provincial Government of Negros Oriental’s official Facebook page that some of the fishermen with COVID-19 infection have already recovered.
Ten are residents of Negros Oriental while the other two are residents of Samboan and Santander towns in Cebu.
Athough the latter two are part of the 164 fishermen and are quarantined in Negros Oriental upon the request of their respective LGUs, their case is officially recorded in Cebu.
The IATF-EID also stated there is only one active case of COVID-19 in the province as of this writing, a pescador from Bindoy who is also part of the 13 fishermen who earlier were confirmed to be infected by COVID-19.
All the 13 fishermen were asymptomatic, Estacion noted. (ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental)