Mon, 10 Aug 2020

Dealing with LSIs/ROFs is very complicated process, says DOH-10

Philippine Information Agency
04 Jul 2020, 22:38 GMT+10

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, July 4 (PIA) - "The whole process of getting someone who is stranded from one place to another is so complicated," said Dr. Ian Christian Gonzales, head of the Infectious Disease cluster of the Department of Health (DOH)- 10 during the recently concluded Talakayan sa PIA media forum on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) at Pearlmont Hotel here.

With the recent arrival of Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) and Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) in the region and the sudden additional reported positive cases of COVID-19 attributed to their arrivals, a question on possible loopholes in the process of transporting these individuals was raised.

However, Dr. Gonzales had clarified that transporting an individual from one place to another is a complex and complicated matter, involving several factors in the process.

Some of the factors, he said, were the logistics, coordination from one Local Government Unit to another, and the scheduling of tests.

"Because it is such a complicated process many can go wrong in between; it is inherent in a complex system," he mentioned.

Citing an example, he said an individual tested negative for COVID-19 before his departure but upon his arrival, he tested positive. Various possibilities on how he got infected have to be considered such as acquiring the virus before embarking or after testing since some need to wait few days before they can go home. Another possibility for such results may be due to the false-negative results during the initial testing, he added.

"There are so many things that can happen in between. As the government, we have no control over it; that is why we try to put many layers of [quarantine] control. So what is happening now is that before they leave [point origin] they should be tested and upon arrival, they will be quarantined," he said.

"All tests have their inherent weaknesses, there is no such thing as 100% test. During COVID-19, what we can maybe consider as a perfect test is the 14-day test," he added.

The 14-day test, Dr. Gonzales explained, is the quarantine period that a person would undergo especially when arriving from an area with reported localized or community transmissions such as Manila or Cebu City. The quarantine period guarantees that after the said period of being isolated, the person will no longer be contagious.

"Whether they have COVID or not, or even if they have COVID, after 14 days of quarantine and no symptom had been shown the person is no longer contagious so that is still the best way," Dr. Gonzales said.

The agency also asked the general public especially the LSIs and ROFs to be more patient as they undergo the additional 14-day quarantine imposed by their respective local government unit.

Though they understood their desire to return to their respective families, the required 14-day quarantine is not only for their own safety but to their family and community as well.

There are so many counter measures that the government are doing to prevent the spread of the pandemic disease. "Nothing is perfect. Someone might get through. What the government is doing is to minimize [the spread of the disease] as much as possible." Dr. Gonzales concluded. (JAKArana/PIA10)

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