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Four members of an international team monitoring the Mindanao peace process got infected with COVID-19 and have been quarantined in Zamboanga City, officials confirmed on Monday night, August 16.
The four members of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) include three Malaysians and a Filipino, said Zamboanga City Health Office chief Dr. Dulce Miravite.
Officials said it was unlikely that the three Malaysians got infected in their home country because they arrived in Mindanao in June. They are supposed to stay in the country for a year.
Miravite said the IMT members were immediately brought to an isolation facility after they all got positive COVID-19 test results.
Contact tracing work has begun, she said.
The monitoring team in Zamboanga City is led by Malaysian military officers and includes a select group of officers from the Armed Forces’ Western Mindanao Command (Wemincom) and the military’s Judge Advocate General’s office.
The team has been observing the cessation of hostilities between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), as well as the implementation of humanitarian, rehabilitation and development agreements in the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and Palawan.
Zamboanga health officials did not say if those infected were already inoculated. – Rappler.com
Frencie Carreon is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.