The Balabac municipal government is set to impose a localized “hard” lockdown on Mangsee Island, after two returning locals tested positive for COVID-19, according to Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer (PDRRMO) Jerry Alili.
The town recorded its first two COVID-19 cases Tuesday. The two patients, both residents of Mangsee Island, traveled from Tawi-Tawi province.
Alili confirmed in an interview Tuesday with Palawan News that the two new cases in Balabac had possibly come from the neighboring province of Tawi-Tawi. The two were reactive to a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) and eventually tested positive in a confirmatory swab test Sunday (November 1).
“Hindi ito local case. Mga imported cases ito galing Tawi-Tawi. Pagdating nila sabi ng MHO (municipal health office) ay naka-quarantine, pagkatapos nag-manifest ng symptoms, kaya sila sinwab,” said Alili. “Supposedly ang kanilang quarantine ay mag-e-end bukas pero, of course, dahil nga nag positive sila mae-extend sila.”
Provincial Health Office (PHO) acting officer-in-charge Dr. Faye Labrador said in a text message to Palawan News that the patients are both females — one 40-year-old and one 57-year-old widow. Both arrived in the town on October 23.
Alili added that the Balabac municipal inter-agency task force (IATF) has drafted a resolution to put Mangsee island under lockdown to contain a possible local outbreak and for the MHO to conduct contact tracing.
“May resolution na ang municipal IATF ng Balabac na i-put on lockdown ‘yong Mangsee. Ipapa-approve namin sa regional task force,” Alili added.
Balabac was one of the remaining towns without any reported COVID-19 cases until Tuesday, along with the island towns of Linapacan, Cagayancillo, and the Kalayaan Group of Islands.
Palawan currently has six active cases. The towns of Cuyo and Culion have two active cases each. (with reports from Romar Miranda, Ruth Rodriguez, Aira Genesa Magdayao, and Patricia Laririt)