The public should expect a thorough investigation into the Filipina who allegedly broke travel quarantine protocols and consequently infected many others with the coronavirus over the New Year holiday, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Saturday.
“We will include all possible pieces of evidence as part of our supporting documents to the fiscal. No stones will be left unturned in filing this case because, of course, this concerns public health as a danger to ourselves and to the people around us.,” PNP spokesperson Col. Roderick Alba said.
Alba said this when asked if authorities will look into the social media posts by Gwyneth Anne Chua, who allegedly breached health restrictions, and her companions at a party in Poblacion, Makati.
The Makati restaurant visited by Chua called for a probe into the incident on Friday.
In a statement, the management of “Kampai” confirmed that Chua, whom they did not name, visited their bar on December 23, 2021 and stayed from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. the following day.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) had first identified Chua, who had travel history from the United States PNP… and was supposedly placed under quarantine at the Berjaya Hotel in Makati on December 22. Kampai did not name her in their statement.
The Berjaya Makati Hotel on Saturday apologized for the incident, saying it was a “very serious breach” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, hotel management confirmed reports that the Filipino traveler from the US did not undergo hotel quarantine and even attended a party in Makati.
The OFW then tested positive for COVID-19, and so did the other party attendees.
“Although she and her friends are reportedly only mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic, this was a very serious breach given the pandemic’s disastrous impact on lives and livelihood,” it said.
Alba said police were eyeing pressing charges against Chua for breaking the law on reporting communicable diseases.
The PNP would file a violation of Republic Act 11332 or Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act on Chua, he added.
Metro Manila will be placed under Alert Level 3 from January 3 to 15, following an increase in COVID-19 cases and the likelihood of the local transmission of the highly infectious omicron variant.
The Kampai restaurant said Chua was allowed to come in since the group she was with had a reservation. She also showed proof of vaccination against COVID-19, filled out a health declaration form, and had her temperature taken.
However, the restaurant said it had no idea that the woman came fromabroad and was supposed to be in strict isolation.
“It is unfortunate that this transpired in our premises, and has resulted in compromising the health and safety of our customers and our staff. A number of our patrons and staff contracted the virus and are now in quarantine because of the situation,” Kampai said.
The management has vowed to cooperate with investigators by providing
information and access to CCTV footage. The restaurant has also suspended operations, as all of their staff are under self-isolation due to the incident.
The Department of Health and the Bureau of Quarantine have said they will file charges against Chua, who is believed to have infected
around 15 other people.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque called the incident a clear violation of “well-established IATF protocols” and the Republic Act on Notifiable Diseases.
The DOT has also issued a show-cause order to Berjaya Hotel Makati, asking it to explain how Chua was able to escape their supervision.