COVID-19 now in all Philippine provinces after Batanes logs first case
Screengrab from Google Maps shows the province of Batanes.
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COVID-19 now in all Philippine provinces after Batanes logs first case
(Philstar.com) - September 29, 2020 - 3:16pm

MANILA, Philippines — The new coronavirus has reached all 81 provinces in the Philippines nearly eight months since local health authorities first detected a COVID-19 case.

This, after the northernmost province of Batanes reported Tuesday its first confirmed COVID-19 case. The patient is a "locally-stranded individual" who returned to Batanes on September 22.

"Locally-stranded individual" is a government classification for residents of other provinces who were stuck in Metro Manila or other urban areas due to pandemic lockdowns.

The patient is asymptomatic but is under “strict isolation” at Batanes Resort. The provincial government also said close contacts of the first case and other LSIs under quarantine are closely being monitored.

The Department of Health told reporters in a Viber message that the province’s first case has not been officially reported to the agency but it is coordinating with appropriate agencies for relevant information.

But Batanes recording a confirmed case means that all provinces in the country have or have had COVID-19 cases, the DOH said.

RELATED: Early action, strict 'stay-at-home' measures in some provinces helped keep COVID-19 out

Remoteness, early lockdowns helped protect Batanes

Batanes Gov. Marilou Cayco said in an interview with CNN Philippines in August that the province’s location and the early implementation of lockdown and other health measures helped keep the virus out.

The government-led Balik Probinsya and Hatid Probinsya programs have been blamed for the spread of the virus in other provinces and regions.

Despite implementing the longest lockdown, the Philippines still has the most number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia with over 307,000. Of the figure, 252,665 have recovered, while 5,381 have died. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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