This satellite image shows Shariff Aguak in Maguindanao province.
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Kin of Maguindanao student who unknowingly spread COVID-19 to help with contact tracing
John Unson ( - June 3, 2020 - 1:43pm

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines — Relatives of a medical student confirmed to have COVID-19 and who had unknowingly infected three siblings have assured authorities they will cooperate in contact-tracing efforts.

Shariff Aguak Mayor Marop Ampatuan said Wednesday the student first tested negative in a rapid test but was positive for COVID-19 in a subsequent swab test.

"The problem was that the result of the second more accurate testing procedure came out days after the rapid testing was done," Ampatuan said.

Medical experts, as well as the World Health Organization, have warned against using the rapid tests for clinical diagnosis because of the risk of false negatives and false positives.

The patient is among 11 students who had returned from Cebu and who tested positive for COVID-19 when they arrived in Maguindanao.

They were to be confined to the compound of the Maguindanao provincial hospital near the town proper of Shariff Aguak but the medical student reportedly managed to leave the isolation facility and mingle with relatives.

Dr. Elizabeth Samama, chief of the Maguindanao Integrated Provincial Health Office, had announced over radio stations in Cotabato City that three of the student’s siblings later tested positive to coronavirus.

“The elders of the clan where that student belong promised to cooperate with the contact tracing efforts of our LGU's health office and provincial health officials,” Ampatuan said.

Ampatuan said all barangay captains in Shariff Aguak and personnel of the municipal health office have tightened the enforcement of the LGU’s COVID-19 containment measures after learning that three residents have been afflicted with the viral disease via local transmission. 

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