8-9 stranded individuals at Rizal Memorial stadium suspected to have COVID-19
Thousands of locally stranded individuals, who are beneficiaries of the second batch of the Hatid Tulong program, are surrounded by their belongings as they spend the night on the bleachers of the baseball stadium of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila on Friday,July 24..
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman
8-9 stranded individuals at Rizal Memorial stadium suspected to have COVID-19
(Philstar.com) - July 27, 2020 - 11:34am

MANILA, Philippines — Eight to nine of the locally stranded individuals (LSIs) crammed at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex last weekend are suspected to have COVID-19, amid concerns of failure to impose physical distancing in the venue.

In an interview with ANC on Monday morning, Presidential Management Staff Assistant Secretary Joseph Encabo said out of the nearly 4,000 of the LSIs, “eight to nine persons were tested positive of the rapid tests.”

Encabo, lead convenor of the government’s “Hatid Tulong” program, also said that those who tested positive were immediately isolated and administered a confirmatory swab test.

If the individual tested positive, he or she will be brought to an isolation facility. If negative on the confirmatory test, they will be allowed to travel back home.

The Philippine Coast Guard said Sunday that they assigned 25 of their medical technologists to administer rapid COVID-19 tests to the LSISs. Encabo said they have eight stations, manned by doctors, nurses and medical technologists for the stranded individuals.

Those who have had close interaction with them were also recorded and the local government units where they will be sent off are notified, Encabo said. They will also be subjected to a confirmatory swab test and undergo 14-day quarantine, he added.

Thousands of Filipinos wanting to go back to their home provinces availed of the government’s “Hatid Tulong” program. The Rizal Memorial Sports Complex was converted into a venue to house the LSIs while they waited for their transport back home. Photos of the LSIs cramped at the stadium’s bleachers, making it impossible to observe physical distancing, made rounds last weekend.

‘It’s the lesser evil’

Encabo admitted that they had to choose the “lesser evil” when they brought the thousands of LSIs  inside the stadium. He said the Technical Working Group decided to transfer the LSIs inside the stadium when they noticed that they had to queue under the sun and heavy rains were about to fall.

“Since we saw it, we cannot just take it lightly in our part... The moment we noticed that the rain is about to fall, we invited them inside the stadium t take refuge and shelter,” Encabo said.

“Because of unavoidable circumstances, it’s a decision of choosing lesser evil and we really have to give them the shelter and temporary refuge,” he added.

“That’s the least that we could do, somehow that’s the best that we could offer because we have to protect these LSIs on the heavy downpour and at the same time he intense heat of the sun while waiting outside,” Encabo also said.

He however said that hours after the stranded individuals were invited inside the stadium, they transferred some of them to the other stadium so physical distancing may be observed.

Encabo said 3,600 LSIs were brought home on Sunday, and they aim to transport thousand others on Monday. — Kristine Joy Patag

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 10, 2020 - 2:55pm

Follow this thread for updates on COVID-19 risk levels, safety measures, and data from Metro Manila's local government units.

Photo: The STAR/Michael Varcas

November 10, 2020 - 2:55pm

The STAR reports Metro Manila's mayors have agreed to ban caroling in their jurisdictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

According to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority general manager Jojo Garcia, the proposal will be forwarded to the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease. 

October 28, 2020 - 9:40am

"All of the OVP staff who were exposed last week tested negative," Vice President Leni Robredo announces on her Twitter account. 

"Thank God!! All the activities today and the succeeding days will proceed as scheduled. Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes. They are very much appreciated," she also says.

Robredo said last Saturday that she would go into self-isolation after finding out she had "very close contact" with a COVID-19 patient.

"Following protocols, we decided to do self quarantine beginning Friday until we get a swab test," she said then.

October 27, 2020 - 8:21am

A recording of President Rodrigo Duterte's meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease will be aired at 8 a.m., according to an advisory from the Palace late Monday night.

Duterte is expected to announce new quarantine classifications for November.

October 23, 2020 - 7:38am

The Manila city government and Quiapo Church have agreed to cancel the grand procession of the image of the Black Nazarene in January 2021 in light of the pandemic.

It is the first time that the procession for the image of the Black Nazarene, where millions of barefoot devotees take part yearly.

Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso says in a statement that public health protocol must prevail over religious traditions because of the threat posed by COVID-19. 

"Nakikisuyo po ako, iwasan po muna natin ang mga parada at prusisyon ngayong may pandemya dulot ng sakit na COVID-19. Maaari pong mapahamak ang ating mga deboto, mailagay sila sa alanganin," Domagoso says.

(I am asking that we avoid parades and processions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our devotees might get sick, they will be at risk) 

October 19, 2020 - 8:55am

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno will raise the capacity at churches and other places of worship to 30% from 10% of seating capacity.

Moreno says in a report by Super Radyo dzBB, the increased seating capacity "on the premise that the leaders of the chruch will continue to practice simple protocol under the IATF rules."

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