Cotabato City (May 26, 2020)—The Ministry of Health of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MOH-BARMM) has recorded eleven (11) new Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) confirmed cases in the region on Tuesday, May 26.
MOH Minister Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan said these new cases are among the 16 students from Cebu who availed the of national government’s “Hatid Probinsya” program for Locally Stranded Individuals (LSI).
Early on, a 22 year-old male student from Datu Saudi Ampatuan town, also among the 16 students from Cebu, tested positive from Covid-19.
“Initially, we had one confirmed case among the students studying from Cebu, but now we have an additional 11 cases,” Dipatuan told reporters here in an interview.
He stressed that when the students arrived this month, they went straight to the isolation facility in Maguindanao Provincial Hospital.
“They were not permitted to go home yet, they were quarantined and tested first,” Dipatuan said.
Dipatuan underscored that patients are now in stable condition and are currently on strict isolation. He said they will continue to give entry to constituents who availed the BP2 program as it is their given right.
“After all, who would accept them if we don’t accept them back home?,” Dipatuan queried.
As of today, BARMM has a total of 23 confirmed Covid-19 cases—13 from Maguindanao; 9 from Lanao del Sur; and 1 in Sulu. Of these positive cases, 4 died, 7 have recovered and 12 are admitted.
Meanwhile, the Bangsamoro Government is coordinating with hotels in the region to serve as quarantine for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) coming back to the country, before proceeding to their respective provinces.
“The OFWS already went through laboratory testing via RT-PCR and they all resulted negative,” Dipatuan said.
“However, despite their being negative from the coronavirus test, this does not mean that we would be complacent as they should still undergo the 14-day quarantine as part of the Covid-19 guideline implementation,” he added.
Section 4, under Social Welfare, Health and Employment clause of Executive Order no. 114 of President Rodrigo Duterte, states that there are “comprehensive assistance packages” designed “to encourage voluntary and immediate movement” of individuals back to their hometown, especially those stranded in the National Capital Region (NCR) due to Enhanced Community Quarantine.
He emphasized that all returning OFWs in BARMM must be tested first before they are allowed to go back as not to have a repetition of the spike of Covid-19 positive cases as that of the students studying in Cebu City.
“Upon their return to the region, they have to be tested again, especially now that we have a laboratory testing center at the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center in Cotabato City,” Dipatuan said. (Bureau of Public Information)
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