TACLOBAN CITY- A returnee overseas worker is Ormoc City’s first coronavirus disease 2019(COVID-19) case.
This was confirmed by its city mayor, Richard Gomez, who issued his appeal to national government agencies to test all returnees before they would be allowed to return to their respective hometowns.
Gomez said that its first confirmed COVID-19 case is a 46-year old man who previously worked in Saudi Arabia but returned to Ormoc on May 27.
His swab results were part of the 90 samples released by the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center Testing Center on Friday.
Gomez, who confirmed their first COVID-19 case on Friday night, said that he was sad that the coronavirus has now entered the city which imposed one of the strictest quarantine measures in Eastern Visayas.
With this development, the actor-turned city mayor said that he would bar individuals coming from areas where there are COVID-19 cases to enter Ormoc and his people would also be prohibited to go to areas where there are also cases of coronavirus.
Gomez said that while he is accepting the fact that Ormoc has now its own COVID-19 case, he could not avoid expressing his disappointment.
He said that national agencies should have at least tested for COVID-19 those who wished to return to the provinces before they would be allowed to return home to ensure that the virus would not spread to the provinces so all the efforts of these local government units like Ormoc would not go to waste.
“When we close our borders here in Ormoc City, a lot of people did not feel good about it why we have to be strict. Because COVID-19 could easily infect. Sana, before papuntahin yung mga tao sa kanila-kanilang mga bayan, i-rapid test, i-swab test muna natin before they leave the plane, bago makasakay ng bus, (para) malaman na sila ay safe at hindi infected,” he said.
And if these people would turn to be positive, they should not be allowed to travel to avoid spreading the virus, the Ormoc City mayor said.
“We will be more strict in our borders. I am asking for the cooperation of the PNP.People coming from other COVID positive areas will not be allowed to enter Ormoc City and we will also bar people of Ormoc to be going out of the city,” he said.
Gomez reiterated his call for national agencies to coordinate with the local government units on this scheme. “We really need to cooperate, to coordinate,” he said.
“I am not happy on what happened but it could have been prevented if strict health protocols have been followed. But again, nandiyan na yan, so we have to deal with it,” he said.
Mayor Gomez said that the 46-year old man is now placed at their quarantine facility.
He asked his people to inform the city government to report any returnee coming to their villages saying he does not like to see Ormoc City having more COVID-19 cases.
Meantime, the regional office of the Department of Health confirmed the second COVID-19 case of Tacloban City.
John Paul Roca, information officer of the DOH-18, said that Tacloban’s second case involved a 31-year old woman who was stranded in Metro Manila when it was placed under lockdown last March.
“She is now confined in the city’s quarantine facility,” he said.
Tacloban City’s first COVID-19 patient involved a 29-year old woman who was also returning overseas worker.
Roca also said that the town of Isabel in Leyte province also recorded its first COVID-19 case involving a 39-year old overseas worker who was on board with Ormoc City’s first COVID-19 patient.
With three new cases, Eastern Visayas has now 51 COVID-19 patients.
(RESTITUTO A. CAYUBIT)