THE Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas has assured that the 26 travelers from Daegu City, South Korea who landed in Cebu on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, were all healthy and did not manifest any symptoms of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

DOH 7 Director Jaime Bernadas made this announcement during a press conference on Monday, March 2.

“Everybody is accounted for. All of them did not develop any symptoms. Therefore, we could safely assure that they are all healthy as of today,” he said.

Seventeen of the travelers already returned home on different flights. Eight are still in Cebu and have been placed in strict home quarantine or have placed themselves in self-quarantine with local health workers and personnel of the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (Resu), Philippine National Police and the Provincial Health Office (PHO) monitoring their condition.

The Philippines imposed a ban on travelers from Daegu City in North Gyeongsang province, South Korea on Feb. 26 because of the high number of Covid-19 cases there.

As for the seven missing travelers who were previously reported missing, they were found in hotels and residences far from the city. Two of them tried to evade detection by moving from one hotel to another.

“They went into hiding so they wouldn’t be found. They just stayed in their hotel room. Actually, they could not go sightseeing since they were afraid they’d be arrested,” Bernadas said in Cebuano.

According to Bernadas, the missing travelers were found with the help of local government units, the PHO, the police, the Bureau of Immigration, the Bureau of Quarantine, and hotel and resort operators.

One of the missing South Korean nationals had flown to Central Luzon and was quarantined there.

Bernadas said the eight travelers, who will remain in quarantine for 14 days, are willing to cooperate. They will be visited and monitored for symptoms of the novel coronavirus, he said.

Six of them are tourists, while two have families here in Cebu, he said.

Once all eight travelers are cleared after 14 days, they will be free to go, Bernadas said.

The health official reiterated that the public has nothing to worry about after the names of the hotels where some of the 26 travelers from Daegu City stayed were leaked on social media.

“We would like to assure the public that it is safe for travelers and guests to continue their business in any hotels and resorts in the region. The 26 travelers from Daegu City are all healthy and not manifesting symptoms of Covid-19,” he said. “The hotels and resorts in Central Visayas have been coordinating with local health authorities and concerned government agencies to ensure their guests are safe and have established isolation and referral procedures for guests that may need medical attention.”

Bernadas said they will file legal action against anyone caught spreading false or baseless information about the disease on social media.

“Let us continue to be united in the fight against Covid-19 through regular handwashing, avoidance of large crowds, cough etiquette, wearing of masks when sick and to consult (a doctor) when sick at the soonest possible time,” he said.

As of March 2, there were 183 persons under monitoring and seven patients under investigation in Central Visayas. Some 175 of them are in home quarantine, while the rest are staying in a facility quarantine.

Meanwhile, South Korean Consul General in Cebu Uhm Won Jae confirmed that 17 of the 26 travelers from Daegu City were back in South Korea.

“Since they arrived on Feb. 25, our consulate office had closely cooperated and coordinated with the DOH 7 until we found the location of every passenger from Daegu. Among the 26, 17 have already returned to Korea,” the consul general told Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella when he visited the mayor at the latter’s office on Monday for an update on the situation.

Labella, for his part, said the City Government is prepared to assist South Korean nationals in the city.

“On behalf of the City Government, we worked together in containing this problem and whatever assistance the Korean nationals need, the City Government is committed to help them while they are here in Cebu,” the mayor said. (JCT / PAC, HBL / PJB)