WHO Philippines to LGUs: Quarantine, test returning residents

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 3) — The World Health Organization in the Philippines is urging local authorities to follow quarantine protocols on returning residents, citing a “worryingly” large number of infections in the regions.

“These new infections in new regions [are] oftentimes being influenced by people travelling from infected areas where there is active transmission to those areas,” WHO Country Representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, said in an online briefing Friday.

While there’s concentration of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila and Central Visayas, Abeyasinghe said more new infections are being recorded in CALABARZON, Central Luzon, Northern Mindanao, SOCCSKSARGEN, Eastern Visayas, “and maybe a few other regions.”

He said the WHO understands the need to bring residents home as many lost their jobs in the middle of the pandemic. However, he reminds authorities that “bringing these people require quarantining them, testing them and managing them so they do not introduce newer infections into the country, into their home provinces.”

He added that the testing of returning Filipinos contributed to the large number of cases in the Philippines.

READ: Stranded Filipinos to undergo COVID-19 swab test before return to hometowns

As of July 2, the Department of Health said 2,379 returning Filipinos from abroad tested positive for COVID-19. Of this number, 1,690 recovered and 1 succumbed to the viral disease.

Abeyasinghe added that poor compliance with quarantine guidelines was observed in COVID-19 hotspot Cebu City and other areas in the province, resulting in increased transmission.

"As we work together with the government and the regional department to understand what was happening in Cebu, it has become clear that the compliance with the quarantining guidelines and the procedures were not optimum in Cebu," he said.

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