40 travelers held in Zamboanga City

ZAMBOANGA CITY: At least 40 travelers were held on Wednesday in the southern Philippine city of Zamboanga after testing positive for Covid-19.

Eight overseas workers who arrived along with 156 passengers at the Zamboanga International Airport have tested positive for the deadly respiratory virus even as 116 of the passengers initially presented “expired” reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results.

The local government also said at least 32 boat passengers who arrived here from Manila and Dumaguete City have also tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 245 passengers were tested here on Wednesday.

Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle “Beng” Climaco-Salazar said the City Health Office has been conducting rapid antigen tests to the passengers at the Port of Zamboanga to prevent Covid-positive travelers from entering the city.

The mayor also reminded all residents to continue adhering to the health and safety protocols following the sudden spike in the number of active Covid-19 cases in the city.

Climaco-Salazar, citing local health records, said the Covid-19 cases have more than tripled this week from just under 100 cases in December.

“With the increasing trend in cases in the city and elsewhere in the country, the public is urged anew to continue practicing minimum health standards and to get vaccinated the soonest possible time,” she said.

Salazar, who heads the local Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, said that all travelers entering Zamboanga City, whether vaccinated or not, must present a negative RT-PCR or rapid antigen test results if they come from high-risk areas or those places under Alert Levels 3, 4 and 5.

Zamboanga City is currently under Alert Level 2.

“All the requirements shall be presented to the border personnel upon arrival. Inbound travelers, regardless of vaccination status, may be subjected to random rapid antigen testing upon entry through the airport, seaport or land borders,” Climaco-Salazar said.