CEBU CITY – The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) is pushing for the revival of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing for the travelers arriving at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH-7 chief pathologist and Covid-19 regional spokesperson, said Tuesday swab testing will help health authorities in identifying travelers who may have been infected and have the risk of passing on the coronavirus to the locals.
With the National Capital Region (NCR) imposing “bubble” measures to selected areas with high Covid-19 cases, Loreche said it is the best time to test arriving passengers.
The NCR Plus bubble places Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal under strict community quarantine for two weeks from March 22 to April 4 to address the Covid-19 surge.
In this setup, a bubble applies to a cluster of people restricted from going in and out of a covered area. They can only move out if they can secure authority.
“With the no testing policy, the slowing of travelers from the bubble areas can mean we won’t be receiving individuals who may be harboring the virus but we can’t know for sure as they aren’t tested,” Loreche told the Philippine News Agency in a message.
She, however, said the bubble would mean “there are no travelers arriving here from NCR” which in a “way might not add to our cases”.
Loreche said the DOH-7 has been conducting a series of consultative meetings with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia to convince the provincial leadership to revive the “no testing, no entry” policy in the airport and the setting up again of Covid-19 help desks in the arrival area.
Meanwhile, Loreche urged local government officials to ramp up their preparations for the upcoming inoculation of the senior citizens and vulnerable sectors.
Loreche added they should also strengthen the campaign of guarding the vulnerable sectors, such as the elderly and sick in the household, by ensuring that “active members” of the family who have been going out must be assured they are not carriers of coronavirus.
“Those who are (at) high risk must wear at all times their face mask even at your home. This is to prevent transmission within the household,” she added. (PNA)