At least 17 policemen assigned in the island town of Zumarraga, Samar have been quarantined after having close contact with a detained rape suspect who tested positive of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Mayor Myrna Tan said in a video message on Monday that the police officers, including their station chief, are now staying at the town’s patient care center and will undergo swab tests.
They had exposure to a 50-year-old male who was arrested in Caloocan City for rape charges and arrived in the town on June 16. Policemen assigned in Zumarraga town escorted him via land travel.
The detainee has been isolated in a local isolation facility after he tested positive of the virus on June 24. He was detained at the town’s lockup cell for about a week. Tagged as the region’s patient no. 436, he is the first Covid-19 patient in the island town.
With several lawmen under quarantine, the Samar police provincial office has assigned more policemen to Zumarraga town as temporary replacement.
The police station in Zumarraga is the second police unit in the region where personnel are placed under quarantine after having close contact with a virus carrier. In April, police personnel of Tarangnan town were also isolated.
Now that the virus is present in their town, Tan appealed to residents stranded in other places to temporarily suspend their plan of going home while the town is dealing with the health crisis.
“As of this time, we will not accept you, because our quarantine facility is already full, especially if you will not coordinate with the national government agencies and the provincial government,” she said.
Zumarraga has three other positive Covid-19 cases. Others are locally-stranded individuals from Metro Manila and Cebu.
The local government has placed four villages in the town under lockdown from June 26 to July 2. These villages are Mombon, Poblacion 2, Canwarak, and Buntay.
Entry to the town is banned except for medical workers and police, military, and other qualified personnel. All modes of transportation going to and from the island are suspended.
Social and mass gatherings are also prohibited during the lockdown.
Business establishments like small community stores, water refilling stations, and market stalls can operate from 5:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m and must observe health protocols. Every village is directed to set-up a makeshift market for their constituents.
Curfew is also implemented in all villages except for those with quarantine pass, but they can only use it from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. particularly for buying basic necessities and commodities for their family.
Local government workers will only report to work from Monday to Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Zumarraga is a 5th class island town in Samar province with a population of over 16,000 people.
Source: Philippines News Agency