Provincial authorities are set to file charges against a Brooke’s Point councilor and her spouse who had tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from an unauthorized travel from Malaysia, for declining to cooperate with contact tracers working to contain a potential spread of the virus.
Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) chief Jeremias Alili said the main parties involved have not been cooperating with them in the conduct of the necessary contact tracing by disclosing critical information about the patient’s unmonitored travel to Malaysia.
Alili said that so far over 30 individuals have already been placed under quarantine as a standard measure to prevent local transmission cases.
“Hindi nagco-cooperate ang patient ng full details, saan siya dumaan, saan siya sumakay. Those ay hindi pa dini-disclose. If this continues, we will be forced to file a case for violating Section 9 of RA 11332. We will support ‘yong filing,” he said.
Alili said they have confirmed that the patient had traveled to Malaysia and may have contracted the infection during his unauthorized trip.
“It is confirmed. Sila [pasiyente at asawa], mga kasama sa bahay, mga kapitbahay ang nagsabi. Mag-isa lang siyang bumiyahe, pero inaalam pa namin kung ilan sila, sino ang mga kasama niya,” he said in an interview Saturday.
“Magkaiba ang dini-disclose ng mag-asawa kung kailan dumating ang pasyente. The other said December 27, ‘yong isa naman January 10,” he added.
The patient, who is married to a local SB member, was announced by town authorities to have been positive for the disease despite testing negative in a swab test taken on January 15. The patient recently started exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, which prompted him to take a second swab test.
Alili also said that the patient’s wife went to various events in Brooke’s Point before news broke of the patient’s condition.
“Nasa 30 plus na ‘yong naka-quarantine ngayon. ‘Yong SB, pumunta pa sa court, may event na pinuntahan. ‘Yong mga kasamahan sa bahay sina-swab as I speak. Hindi pa kami satisfied kasi hindi pa nila [patient and his wife] dini-disclose lahat kung saan sila pumunta,” he said.
Town mayor Mary Jean Feliciano also said Sunday they are studying the filing of a case against the SB member for concealing the travel history of her husband.
Feliciano said that if the SB member lied about the details of the travel history of her husband, she will be liable under the law.
“Hindi lang ang patient na ito, pati mismo ang kanyang asawa na [SB Member] — pinag-aaralan na natin yan na mapanagot sila sa umiiral na health protocols,” Feliciano said.
“Makakaasa ang mamamayan ng Brooke’s Point na papanagutin natin sa batas ang sino man na lumabag sa mga protocols alinsunod sa batas na ipinaiiral sa buong bansa,” she added.
Feliciano said health authorities and the inter-agency task force in Brooke’s Point are now doing thorough contact tracing to ensure that the situation will not get more critical.
As an emergency measure, the municipal government ordered the indefinite suspension of the market day held in town every start of the week.