The suspect COVID-19 patients in Calamian Island Group were placed under home quarantine as a remedial protocol by the local health officials, after the Palawan’s lone COVID-19 laboratory ran out of supplies to confirm the diagnosis.

Jonathan Dabuit, information officer of Busuanga town, told Palawan News that 60 suspect patients, who were considered as “primary contact individuals” of the local transmission case that originated in the neighboring town of Coron, were placed under strict home quarantine as Ospital Ng Palawan (ONP) was grounded due to lack of GeneXpert cartridges.

“Hindi nakunan ng swab dahil wala namang cartridges na magagamit,” Dabuit said.

The Busuanga health officials have conducted rapid tests among the suspect COVID-19 patients which all returned negative so far.

In Culion town, more than 100 individuals were also placed under the same home quarantine protocol as the health officers await further advice from the COVID-19 laboratories.

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“Home quarantine ang mga pasok sa [contact] tracing natin dito at maghihintay tayo kung may abiso na ang laboratoryo,” said Culion municipal administrator Max Raymundo.

The Department of Health (DOH), in an earlier report, has pointed to the global shortage of GeneXpert cartridges, which was only catered by one supplier among all its users.

This developed after the Calamian Island Group has identified more than 200 individuals on the contact tracing which was indexed on an 82-year-old female COVID-19 positive patient from Coron town who died on August 18.

Recent reports from the Associated Press also revealed that some countries are running “critically low” on test kits including Kenya, Uganda, India, Tonga, and other Southern Pacific countries.

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