Return of Sabah deportees suspended for 2 weeks

Roel Pareño, Eva Visperas, Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino deportees from Sabah will not be allowed to return to the country through Zamboanga for two weeks amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in the city.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, chairman of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, ordered the moratorium in response to the appeal of Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar.

The mayor sought to halt the arrival of the deportees from Sabah, saying the city’s hospitals are already at full capacity.

“We cannot manage patients. Life is very fragile and COVID-19 very potent. We need to protect everyone, including our frontliners,” she said.

The city health office said there were 2,540 active cases in Zamboanga as of Sunday.

Dagupan mayor gets COVID-19

Meanwhile, in Pangasinan, Mayor Brian Lim of Dagupan City announced yesterday that the result of his swab test showed that he was infected.

Lim said he initially had an antigen test and underwent self-quarantine after he was exposed to an infected person last week.

He said he believes he would experience only mild symptoms as he had been fully vaccinated with the China-made Sinovac.

As this developed, a 44-year-old policeman assigned in Zamboanga del Sur died of COVID-19 on Monday.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said the patient was brought to a hospital on May 7 after he tested positive for the virus.

The patient was transferred to the intensive care unit on May 21 due to difficulty in breathing.

Sixty-four PNP personnel have died of COVID-19 since last year, 37 of them since January.

The number of active cases in the PNP is now 1,550 after 170 more of its members contracted the virus.

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