All flights in Naga Airport suspended

PILI, Camarines Sur --- All flights in the Naga Airport are temporarily suspended starting Tuesday, July 7, after President Rodrigo R. Duterte approved the request of Camarines Sur Gov. Miguel Luis Villafuerte for flight suspension amidst the increasing coronavirus disease (Covid-19) positive cases in the province.

The last flight allowed to land at the Naga Airport was the Cebu Pacific Airline flight bound for Manila on Monday (July 6) afternoon.

Villafuerte made the request based on the data of the Department of Health (DOH) Bicol, which showed an abrupt increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in Camarines Sur in just a span of two weeks. The positive cases arrived in the province either via a commercial flight or land transportation.

On June 27, Flight 611 landed at the Naga Airport with a passenger who tested positive for the virus. He is known as Bicol #137.

According to DOH, Bicol #137 is a 62-year old Filipino male from Naga City, whose history of exposure or travel is still for validation. He is asymptomatic. He was immediately brought to the city-controlled quarantine facility after he tested positive on PCR. He is a lending agent. The contract-tracing team was able to come up with 19 more contacts.

To date, Bicol #137 has already infected three close contacts: Bicol #163, a 67-year old female; Bicol #164, a 57-year old Filipino male who is driver; and Bicol #165, a 60-year old Filipino female, a housewife. All are asymptomatic and are now under quarantined.

Four succeeding flights also carried passengers who tested positive on the mandatory rapid diagnostic test (RDT) conducted by the Camarines Sur Incident Management Team (IMT).

The RDT conducted by the province’s IMT at the Naga Airport during the past days, yielded an average of two positive results for every plane arrival.

Villafuerte said that there are instances that the medical certificate presented by a passenger indicated that the bearer is negative for Covid-19, but upon insistence of IMT personnel for him to undergo RDT, subsequent result showed that the passenger is either Immunoglobulin G (IgG) or Immunoglobulin M (IgM) positive.

This means that the infection has passed or indicates that the patient may still be infected, or he may have recently recovered from a Covid-19 infection.

Villafuerte feared that if left unattended, other arriving passengers might also bear the same traces and that would mean more Covid-19 positive for the province.

“We understand the need to re-open flights in order to encourage business and flow of goods and people as this has proven to be beneficial to our economy, but the general welfare and safety of our people is primordial. The reason why we are asking for the temporary suspension of flights to and from Naga City at this time, to avoid further spread of Covid-19 virus in Camarines Sur,” Villafuerte said.