By Rey Anthony Chiu, PIA-Bohol | 06:10 PM May 16, 2020

LAYING THE GROUND WORKS. Bohol Governor Arthur Yap confers with Bohol mayors for a common agreement on the facilitation of the return of stranded Boholanos who have been locked out of the island following the March 15 travel ban. (PIA-7/Bohol/foto by Art Yap)

Finally, two months after Bohol shut its doors to Boholanos who were in different places in the country when the measures to stem the transmission of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Bohol hints on accepting returning Boholanos who may have been stranded, a document from the Provincial Emergency Management Administration (PEMA) showed.

The document, entitled Documentary Requirements for Returning Stranded Boholanos, is a quick guide for offshore Boholanos to comply with so as to be allowed to finally sail home.

The document, signed by Dr. Cesar Tomas Lopez representing 1Bohol COVID19 Medical Technical Team comprised of Dr. Angelito Lechago, Dr. Jefferson Ong, Dr. Ray Atup, Dr. Celestina dela Serna, Dr. Ellan Lyll Salada, Dr. Kazan Baluyot, Dr. Jeia Pondoc and Dr. Fruserma Mary Uy detailed the guidelines which should be followed so Boholanos here could be assured that nobody among the returning paisanos would be carriers.

The 1Bohol COVID-19 Medical technical Team ruled out that each returning Boholano should be able to show through test results that they are negative of the virus in a Food and Drug Administration-approved Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test.

Unlike the much popularized test called the Rapid Antibody Assay which tests the antibody’s reaction to the presence of the virus, the RT-PCR is considered the gold standard for COVID tests as it detects the presence of the virus in the Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) of the person, at a time when the virus is not manifested in the person.

Medical practitioners have also been critical about the Rapid Antibody Test and the reliability of its test results, which probably is why the medical team opted to the highest standard for safety assurance.

The downside however, is that an RT-PCR test, which is only done in a high level bio-secure laboratory, entails costs, which Bohol said, they would coordinate with the national government to have the payments waived. There has not any information about any development on this arrangement though.

The returning individual also needs to present to the PEMA a 14-Day Quarantine Completion Certification issued by the Municipal Health Officer or the City Health Officer of the local government unit of origin.

The requirement however proves to be a hurdle as most stranded Boholanos did not stay in LGU operated and supervised facility, that getting a certification might be a bit tricky.

On this, Capitol sources said the Province of Bohol is now coordinating with neighboring LGUS to iron out the kinks in the release of subject certification, or the returning individual would have to undergo another 14-day LGU supervised quarantine to earn the certification.

Third, a returning Boholano stranded within the country has to secure a medical certification from the local Rural Health Unit of his origin stating that the person does not exhibit any of the COVID-19 symptoms, this certification issued within 72 hours before he travels to Bohol.

Finally, the returning Boholano must execute an undertaking that as a risk, they agree to be quarantined for 14 days in an LGU-operated and supervised quarantine facility and that they agree to undergo all medical tests and processes as may be required to determine their being safe from COVID.

On the other hand, receiving local government units prior to the travel of the returning person, to issue a Certification that they will see to it that the returnee would be quarantined for 14 days in an Municipal or City Health Office approved and supervised LGU Quarantine facility. The LGU also needs to commit to a seamless transport to pick up the returning constituent until his confinement to the quarantine facility.

The receiving LGU also needs to secure a Confirmatory FDA-approved RT PCR test, one week after the date of quarantine.

As of the latest information, Capitol has accordingly agreed to let loose of the negative RT-PCR test requirement for the returning constituent, over a negative Rapid Antibody Test result.

It has not been confirmed too, if the new information did come from the 1Bohol Covid-19 Medical Technical Team, or was just a suggestion now carried as official position. (rahchiu/PIA-7/Bohol)

By Bohol Island News

Your reliable source of news and content in the island and the rest of Central Visayas and Mindanao.

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