Filipino seafarers with COVID-19 in Western Australia now at 17
Robie de Guzman • September 29, 2020 • 246
MANILA, Philippines – The number of Filipino crew members who have contracted novel coronavirus disease aboard a ship off Port Hedland has climbed to 17, the Department of Health Western Australia (WA) reported.
In a media release on Monday, the department said the eight new positive cases from the ship Patricia Oldendorff are part of the crew who were transferred to hotel quarantine.
“This brings the total confirmed cases associated with the vessel to 17 —seven aboard the vessel as part of the essential crew and 10 in hotel quarantine,” the Department of Health WA said.
The four remaining crew have tested negative, it added.
The ship is maintained by Filipino crew with 20 members and a captain.
“All crew members are in good spirits and have been able to contact family at home. Crew also have been provided access to culturally appropriate food by a Filipino chef,” the department said.
“Planning continues with the vessel operator, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and Pilbara Ports Authority regarding the safety of the vessel and potential replacement crew – if required. Daily cleaning of the vessel also continues,” it added.
The vessel arrived in Port Hedland on Sept. 16. Prior to their arrival, the vessel had a crew change in the Philippines on Sept. 5, according to the statement of the shipping company Oldendorff Carriers.
The shipping company said all crew members underwent quarantine process in the Philippines and yielded negative results when tested with PNA-PCR prior to joining the vessel.
Upon arrival in Port Hedland, the captain notified port authorities that two crewmembers were not feeling well.
“The authorities arranged for the crew to be tested and two crewmembers initially tested positive for the virus. Subsequent RNA-PCR tests have shown that 17 crewmembers have now tested positive,” it said.
The company assured that “all crewmembers on board as well as in shore-quarantine are feeling well with only a few seamen showing very slight infection symptoms.”
“We are very concerned about the health and wellbeing of our crewmembers and those caring for them,” it said.
“The authorities have been managing the situation with upmost professionalism. Every effort is being made to contain and improve the situation as quickly as possible,” it added.
Experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) OCTA Research team said relaxed travel restrictions may still pose health risks.
Dr. Guido David, team member of the UP OCTA Research, said it is too early for the country to accept inbound travels and that further review is needed to avoid coronavirus disease (COVID-19) transmission.
“There’s a surge happening right now in Europe so if we were not careful, maraming cases [there are a lot of cases] outside the Philippine, in Europe and certain parts of the world, kasama pa rin diyan iyong sa (these includes) the United States and India. So we have to be careful about letting people,” he said.
David also said despite the drop of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila, there is still a possibility for cases to increase if no safety measures is implemented.
“We’re also a bit worried because the rate of decrease in NCR is not that low anymore. It’s very slow. So it could be, the trend might be reversing anytime,” he added.
Services of Red Cross should also resume first, according to David, because its testing capacity covers 1/4 of the total testing capacity of the country. He also reiterated the need for the public to cooperate in order to fight against the virus.
“The public should be aware that the virus is still here. That the pandemic is not yet over. So if they’re loosening restrictions, responsibility is in the public in deciding whether or not they want to go out,” he said. -AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda).
Patuloy nang bumababa ng antas ng COVID-19 transmission sa Cebu City kasabay ng pagdami naman ng mga gumagaling mula sa sakit, ayon kay DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu.
Batay sa hawak nilang impormasyon ngayong buwan ng Oktubre, sinabi ni Cimatu na nasa 1 hanggang 0.5 percent ang positivity rate sa lungsod.
Ibig sabihin aniya ay isa na lang ang nagpopositibo sa sakit sa bawat 100 na isinasailalim sa COVID-19 testing.
Ngayong Oktubre, umabot sa 9,307 ang bilang ng mga gumaling mula sa COVID-19 at walang napaulat na nasawi.
“If you look at the data, more than 600 death ang all of Cebu City since June and bigla na lang naging zero, what is this? This the indication really of the success of the effort of this team,” ang pahayag ni Cimatu.
Si Cimatu ay nagsisilbing chief implementor ng COVID-19 response ng pamahalaan sa Cebu City. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Irish Madelo)
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