Zamboanga City locks down barangay where COVID-19 case lives
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Barangay Sinunuc, the village where Zamboanga City's first COVID-19 case lives has been locked down by the city government.
Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, chair of the local task force against COVID-19, announced the first confirmed case—a 29-year-old man—during an emergency press briefing at city hall Tuesday night.
"We will have a lockdown, we will not allow entry and outgoing in the area," Salazar said.
Officials of six barangays surrounding and adjacent to Barangay Sinunuc have also imposed a lockdown after some residents of Sinunuc have started fleeing their homes from fear of infection.
Security personnel have put up checkpoints around the barangay.
Sinunuc Chairman Pilarica Ledesma said disinfection through spraying has been conducted in the village.
The patient is also the first COVID-19 case in the Zamboanga Peninsula.
The confirmation Tuesday night came four days after a 57-year-old woman listed as person under investigation (PUI) died in a private hospital over the weekend. She died from acute respiratory disease and was said to be diabetic.
"We had hoped that Zamboanga City would have no cases but pragmatically we knew we could not remain COVID-19-free forever. Our efforts were swift and decisive but it was meant to delay the inevitable for as long as we possibly could to buy time for our hospitals and health workers and to prepare to keep people to stay home to so we can lessen the spread," Salazar said.
Dr. Emila Monicimpo of the regional Department of Health office said ZP-01 returned to the city from Manila aboard the first commercial flight on March 13.
The patient went to a hospital on March 15 and was given a swab test because he had COVID-19 symptoms.
The sample was sent to Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Manila on March 17 along with the 14 other samples.
"Just late afternoon (March 24) the result arrived we received the results and the 14 cases were negative but the 15th case is positive," she said.
City Health Officer Dulce Amor Miravite said ZP-01 is among the 31 PUIs in the city. She said ZP-01 is an outpatient and has been under home quarantine and under tight surveillance by health personnel.
"His condition is improving and his family members who were considered as persons under monitoring (PUM) aree not showing symptoms," Miravite said.
"What we are doing now is containment. Tell the people to practice strictly home quarantine especially those who live nearby him."