Batanes reports first COVID-19 community transmission

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 16) — The local government of Batanes on Thursday reported the province's first COVID-19 community transmission after four residents with no travel history tested positive for the disease.

The local government unit (LGU) said the four individuals are from the municipality of Basco. Three are now under isolation at the Batanes General Hospital (BGH) while one is quarantined at the Department of Agriculture-Batanes Experiment Station.

These are the province's only active cases out of a total of 21 confirmed since the pandemic began, according to data from the LGU. The other 17 have already recovered.

However, local officials said several other residents have tested positive in rapid antigen tests, and are set to undergo confirmatory RT-PCR testing.

In light of this, the LGU said residents aged 15 and below and 60 and above, pregnant women, and those with comorbidities are temporarily prohibited from leaving their homes to prevent further viral transmission.

"Non-essential" mass gatherings are also banned. It added that checkpoints will once again be put up to monitor people entering and exiting the province.

The LGU said contact tracing and surveillance efforts are underway. It also urged those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to immediately seek consultation at BGH or any rural health unit.