‘Do not disembark:’ PCG restricts crew of two Covid-stricken vessels in Albay

A Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) team kept close on two Philippine-registered vessels with 11 Covid-positive crewmen on board in Albay in a bid to contain health risks and preclude the possibility of virus transmission to residents of nearby villages.

PCG spokesman Commodore Armand Balilo said the MT Clyde, a tugboat, and dumb barge, Claudia, remained berthed a kilometer away from the Lidong Port in Sto. Domingo. The PCG personnel on guard were issued specific instructions that no one among the crewmen would be allowed to disembark.

Department of Health (DOH) and Bureau of Quarantine personnel were scheduled to administer RT-PCR test to the crewmen on Wednesday as the government continued its strict monitoring of their health condition while extending emergency assistance.

The MT Clyde and Claudia sailed from Butuan City in Agusan del Norte, with the 11 of the 19 crewmen on board apparently unaware they have been tested positive for the virus. The results of their tests were released while they were already en route to Albay.

Another crew disembarked in Butuan City only to find out later he was also positive for the virus.

The two vessels made an earlier stop to a port in Indonesia, which has been grappling with a surge in Covid Delta variant cases docked Butuan City where it stopped for a day before leaving for Albay. On board the barge are 8,000 metric tons of steam coal.

Balilo said that the 19 crewmen are in state of good health, even as 11 of them have been tested to be Covid positive with asymptomatic symptoms.

“According to Captain Francisco Vargas, master of the MT Clyde, the body temperature of his companions remained normal and their bodies are strong,” he said.

Cops as contact tracers

Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Guillermo Eleazar said that police personnel are ready to help and serve as additional contact tracers amid the threat of the Covid-19 Delta variant.

The DOH earlier said there are eight active cases of Delta variant in the country and contact tracing was ongoing to determine who have direct contact with the patients infected with the variant, which is believed to be more transmissible than the original variant.

“We will coordinate with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Department of Health so we can determine how many additional contact tracers are needed,” Eleazar said.

The PNP chief earlier tasked police units to prepare for the “possible worst case scenario” amid the new variant threat.

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