CEBU

22 boatmen catch virus

PREPARING FOR TOURISM. Boatmen, divers and boat operators in Brgy. Marigondon and  Brgy Suba-Basbas undergo Covid-19 testing as part of the Lapu-Lapu City government’s preparation for the reopening of the tourism industry.Alan Tangcawan

NINETEEN boatmen from Olango Island and three others from Brgy. Maribago in Lapu-Lapu City have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Lapu-Lapu City Health Office confirmed on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020.

They were among the 1,063 boatmen who were swabbed over the last two weeks as part of preparations for the reopening of the tourism industry in Mactan.

Epidemiological Surveillance Officer Grace Mary Carungay of the Lapu-Lapu City Health Office said they tested 818 boatmen from Olango, 140 from Brgy. Maribago, 65 from Brgy. Marigondon and 40 from Brgy. Punta Engaño.

None of those tested in Marigondon and Punta Engaño were found positive for the virus, which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

All those who tested negative would be issued identification cards to indicate that it would be safe for them to cater to tourists.

Carungay said two of the 22 virus-positive boatmen developed symptoms and were brought to the Sta. Rosa District Hospital in Olango.

The 20 others were brought to the government-run isolation facility in Brgy. Gun-ob, where they will undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Carungay said they would have to be declared free of Covid-19 before they would be allowed to render services to tourists.

She also said they have already traced the close contacts of the 22 boatmen.

These boatmen resorted to fishing and marketing their catch when the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the tourism industry and suspended island-hopping services.

Carungay said some of them may have caught the virus during their fishing activities.

“Kato man gud pag Covid wala na ni sila mag boatmen nagsige gihapon sila pangisda unya ila usab nga ipangtumod,” she said. (GCM)


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