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Eastern Visayas confirms local transmission of coronavirus

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte – The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed on Tuesday, April 7, that there is already local transmission of the novel coronavirus disease in the Eastern Visayas region following the infection of health workers who had contact with a positive case.  

DOH director Minerva Molon said there were two new cases from Samar province, both of whom are female health staff at the community hospital in Tarangnan town.

They had contact with the region's second confirmed case from Calbayog City. One is 56 years old while the other is 32. Their samples were tested at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center.

The region is composed of the islands of Samar, Leyte, and Biliran. 

Molon said a native of Hernani town in Eastern Samar also tested positive for coronavirus but it was not a case of local transmission. 

Persons under investigation (PUIs) for the disease in Leyte's Tacloban City all tested negative, including once who died last week.

Contact tracing, quarantine

The department's Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) were now in Tarangnan to trace the possible contacts of the new cases. 

Molon said DOH will facilitate the transfer of the two health workers to a coronavirus referral hospital for proper management and monitoring.

"I would like to put emphasis on the importance of staying at home. Observe strict home isolation if you have symptoms. This is to stop the spread of the virus, " Molon said.

Enhanced community quarantined was imposed in Tarangnan town following the new cases. 

DOH also urged the possible contacts of the new cases to identify themselves and cooperate with authorities in order to stem the spread of the virus. 

The region of 4.7 million people only has 89 hospitals and 3,892 beds.

Western Visayas

A Filipino tourist who travelled to Boracay Island in Western Visayas tested positive for coronavirus upon returning home to Angeles City in Central Luzon.

The 65-year-old woman from Barangay Santo Domingo is the second coronavirus cases in the city. She travelled to the tourist island in Aklan province in March. 

 

Amid calls to reveal more details about the new case, including her exact address, Mayor Carmelo Lazatin Jr said that there' still no known case of local transmission in the city. The city government refused to reveal her identity, stating security concerns for the patient and her family. 

Angeles City's first case, a 64-year-old resident of Barangay Pulung Cacutud, has history of travel to Quezon City in Metro Manila. He died on March 3. 

The city government assured residents that all medical workers, family members and relatives who had close contact with the new coronavirus case are now under 14-day mandatory home quarantine.

In Iloilo province, the military accused communist rebels of attacking troops conducting a coronavirus awareness drive in Lambunao town. One soldier was killed.

“Instead of helping our people fight COVID-19 pandemic, these communist-terrorists are taking advantage of the situation to conduct atrocities distracting the COVID-19 efforts of our troops. They are the ones violating their ceasefire, since they purposely left their lairs in the mountains and went down to the barangays where our troops are doing humanitarian activities," said 3rd Infantry Division chief Major General Eric Vinoya. – with reports from Jun Malig/Rappler