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“Balik Probinsya” causes rise in Covid-19 cases

LEGAZPI CITY --- In a span of one week, three new coronavirus positive cases were reported in the Bicol region as a result of the Balik Probinsya program of the national government where locally stranded individuals (LSIs) were allowed to return to their hometowns.

As of Tuesday, June 23, the latest Covid-19 positive case was a 56-year male from Legazpi City, the 90th confirmed case in the region.

He has a travel history from Muntinlupa City and is presently isolated at quarantine facility run by the local government unit (LGU). He is asymptomatic.

He arrived in Legazpi City aboard a Cebu Pacific plane (Flight No. 5J 325) on June 18. He was seated in 15C.

“If you happen to be on the same flight as Bicol#90, kindly inform immediately your Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERT) or the personnel at the quarantine facility where you are currently quarantined,” Ernie Vera, Department of Health (DOH) Bicol regional director said.DOH Bicol is currently conducting contact tracing of Bicol #90’s co-passengers.

Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal said Bicol #90 is a resident of Purok 4, Barangay 8, Bagumabayan, Legazpi City and was on home quarantine but was recently transferred to the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH).

The village officials of Bagumabayan according to Rosal are now conducting contact tracing in coordination with the patient’s family.

Similarly, on Sunday, June 21, the DOH Bicol also reported another Covid-19 case from Tiwi town.

Bicol #88 is a 31-year old male from Tiwi, who arrived in Albay from Makati City on June 11, 2020.

The patient is asymptomatic and was swabbed at the Albay Provincial Health Office (APHO). He is currently quarantined at an LGU quarantine facility in Tiwi municipality. He is the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in Tiwi after the government allowed the “Balik Probinsya”.

On June 15, a Bicolano from Lupi, Camarines Sur who arrived in Legazpi City from Cebu City aboard Philippine Airlines was also found positive with Covid-19, which prompted the DOH to conduct contact tracing.

As a result of these cases, the DOH warned the public to strictly follow community quarantine procedures as well as precautionary measures, including proper hand washing, social distancing, cough etiquette, disinfection of commonly used objects, use of facemask, and to stay at home. “Everyone’s cooperation is crucial in this time of crisis,” Vera said.

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