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Returning LSIs not to blame for spike in COVID-19 cases in provinces, says DOH

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 1 day ago JULIA MARI ORNEDO,GMA News
a large ship in the background: BRP Davao del Sur leaves Manila on Monday, June 22, 2020 to transport locally stranded individuals and repatriates to Iloilo City and to deliver supplies and personal protective equipment for frontliners in Cebu City. PHL Navy © Philippine Navy BRP Davao del Sur leaves Manila on Monday, June 22, 2020 to transport locally stranded individuals and repatriates to Iloilo City and to deliver supplies and personal protective equipment for frontliners in Cebu City. PHL Navy

Locally stranded individuals (LSIs) who returned to their hometowns from Metro Manila and other areas cannot be blamed for the spike in COVID-19 infections in the provinces, the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said LSIs must meet several requirements before being given clearance to return to their provinces.

“Ang LSI ay makakakuha lamang ng kanilang certification kung ang LSI ay hindi naging contact, hindi naging suspect, hindi naging probable, at hindi naging confirmed case ng COVID-19,” she said in a briefing.

Vergeire added that LSIs must complete a 14-day quarantine period, while those who contracted COVID-19 must first recover and have no symptoms before being cleared.

“Maingat po ang pagsi-screen natin sa ating mga LSIs dahil nga po iniiwasan natin na sila ang maging sanhi ng pagkalat ng COVID-19 sa isang lugar,” she said.

“Marami pong factors ang puwede nating i-consider kung bakit tumataas ang kaso sa ilang mga probinsya. Hindi natin masasabi as a matter of fact na LSIs ang dahilan ng pagtaas ng datos,” she added.

Twelve lawmakers from Eastern Visayas earlier urged a review of the government’s “Hatid Probinsya” program, which ferries LSIs back to the provinces, after the region saw an uptick in COVID-19 cases. 

LSIs and returning Filipino migrant workers were among the newest cases recorded in several areas, including Lanao del Sur, Eastern Visayas, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. 

Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez likewise noted that COVID-19 cases in his city rose as more LSIs were brought home. 

The DOH earlier identified Cebu City, Cebu province, Ormoc City, Southern Leyte, Leyte, and Samar as “emerging hotspots” of COVID-19. 

The Philippines has recorded 37,514 cases with 10,233 recoveries and 1,266 deaths as of Tuesday afternoon.  — BM, GMA News

This article Returning LSIs not to blame for spike in COVID-19 cases in provinces, says DOH was originally published in GMA News Online.

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