Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Monday slammed the local government of Arayat, Pampanga for its travel restrictions on QC residents due to the new strain of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-29).
“We strongly denounce the Arayat local government’s decision to restrict the entry of Quezon City residents to their municipality because this decision is totally without basis, can cause undue panic, and is tantamount to discrimination,” she said.
Arayat Mayor Emmanuel Alejandrino had announced the town is restricting the entry of Quezon City residents to prevent the spread of the United Kingdom variant of COVID-19.
“For the enlightenment of the Arayat local government unit who obviously did not refer to official news reports and health experts, we would like to emphasize the following points again: The traveller who tested positive for the UK variant of COVID-19 DID NOT SET FOOT in Quezon City at any time upon his return to the country from Dubai last Jan. 7,” Belmonte said.
“The said patient STAYED in a quarantine hotel as part of the 14-day mandatory quarantine period. He was tested on Jan. 7 upon arrival. The day after, it was confirmed he was COVID-19 positive. His sample was sent to the Philippine Genome Center.”
“On the night of Jan. 13, the city government and the city health department were informed by the Department of Health that he has the so-called United Kingdom variant. Since Jan: 8, he has been staying at a facility where he remains up to this day for treatment,” she added.
Moreover, the city mayor said a total of 143 individuals who are considered contacts have been identified, quarantined and are being monitored closely.
Belmonte said among them are more than 30 healthcare workers and barangay workers who assisted and cared for the patient when he was transferred from the quarantine hotel in Manila to the isolation facility in Quezon City after he was tested positive for the virus.
“All but one of the traveller’s eight close contacts are now in quarantine while awaiting their test results while there are intensified efforts to contact the last one,” she added.
“For the above-mentioned reasons, we appeal to the Arayat Pampanga LGU to reconsider its earlier order and allow QC residents to enter its jurisdiction,” Belmonte urged.