The provincial government on Saturday issued a statement denying reports circulating on social media that Governor Jose Alvarez’ private plane ferried a passenger from Manila who tested positive for COVID-19.
Governor Alvarez, in a statement released by the Provincial Information Office (PIO), confirmed that his plane indeed flew in from Manila on Thursday carrying four passengers including former Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn but stressed that all of them had health clearances issued by the Department of Health (DOH) and had authority to travel.
Alvarez denied rumors that one of the passengers, Marvi Trudeau, had tested positive for COVID-19 after going through a procedural rapid testing.
Alvarez said the rapid test that Trudeau undertook showed that she was positive for the anti-body that fights COVID-19, and not the coronavirus itself. Hagedorn and Trudeau’s spouse Hugh Trudeau also tested negative, according to Alvarez.
Citing an explanation of the provincial health officer Dr. Mary Ann Navarro, Alvarez stated: “Ang pagkapositibo ng naturang indibidwal (Marvi Trudeau) sa antibodies ay hindi nakakahawa, bagkus ay maaari pa itong mapagkunan ng blood plasma para makatulong sa paggaling ng COVID-19 confirmed patient.”
In a phone call and text message exchange with Palawan News, Trudeau said she was also assured by Dr. Navarro that she is not COVID-19 positive but possesses the antibodies in her system.
“Wala akong nilalagay sa kompromiso na kahit na sino. I am a responsible person and I will make sure that I will not bring the risk to anyone. Kaya nga sinigurado ko na malaman kung ako ba ay contagious,” Trudeau said.
Based on the RDT guideline issued by the DOH, an IGM antibody appears on the first week of the infection, which means that the infection is ongoing but the antibodies were fighting the virus. On the other hand, when an IGG appears, it means that the person has developed a long-term immunity to the virus, and the patient has recovered.
In a separate statement, former mayor Edward Hagedorn also expressed dismay at the immediate spread of the rumor when they arrived. He stressed that all four of them had a certificate to travel from the DOH.
“May clearance kami from Department of Health (DOH). Ako naman ay from barangay, binigyan ako kasi two months na akong quarantine sa bahay, wala naman akong sakit, kaya binigyan ako ng permit to travel,” Hagedorn told Palawan News.
Hagedorn said that he was merely invited on the flight, pointing out that he even got a nod from the sitting mayor Lucilo Bayron.
“Hindi kasama si governor, at hindi ako ang nang-imbita kasi nakisingit lang ako kasi desperado na ‘ko umuwi,” Hagedorn said.
“Sumulat ako kay mayor, pinadala ko sa mga tao, in-approve niya,” he added.
Hagedorn insisted that proper protocols were followed in their travel back to Puerto Princesa City.
“Naging malaking issue ito kasi matagal akong nawala. Binibigyan siguro ito ng kulay ng ibang tao kasi malapit na ang eleksyon at lalo pa eroplano ni Gob ang sinakyan namin, kaya may kulay, pero wala ‘yon sa isip ko,” Hagedorn added.
Hagedorn also explained that he would remain in 14-day home quarantine under strict supervision of the local health officials.
“Pag dating ko sa bahay, nag-kawayan lang kami at diretso ako mag-quarantine with my driver kaya pati siya hindi rin muna makakauwi sa kanila,” Hagedorn said.
Trudeau said they are also under strict home quarantine and monitored by local health authorities as she awaits for the result of her confirmatory test.
“Na-swab na ako and waiting for the result. I am healthy, stable. Ang explanation sa akin is that I may have been exposed before, even though wala akon naramdaman, and I was able to recover,” Trudeau said.
(With reports from Romar Miranda, Celeste Anna Formoso, and Ruth Rodriguez)