1st Subic PUI negative; second one recorded

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) announced on Wednesday that the first Person Under Investigation (PUI) in this Freeport has tested negative for infection of the new coronavirus (Covid-19).

The first PUI, who was identified as a Briton with recent travel in the United Kingdom, exhibited symptoms like fever, cough, colds and diarrhea and was treated at the Medical City in the nearby Clark Freeport.

However, SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said that a second PUI has just been recorded on Wednesday and admitted to an isolation facility here to start treatment for Covid-19 symptoms.

Eisma said the patient is a 50-year old Filipino who has travelled to Manila last week.

The patient is currently in an intensive care unit (ICU), has fever, but is reported to be stable, she added.

With this development, the SBMA chief urged all Subic Freeport stakeholders to stay at home and heed the government’s enhanced community quarantine protocols.

“I beg each and every one of you, please stay at home. Covid is highly contagious and can cause death,” Eisma said in a social media post.

“Between the hospitals at the Subic Bay Freeport and Olongapo City, we have only around 20 isolation rooms. The reality is we do not have enough resources to handle a contagion of any magnitude,” Eisma emphasized.

The SBMA had earlier shut down most of its offices in compliance with Malacañang’s declaration of enhanced quarantine all over Luzon starting Tuesday.

Eisma said only the agency’s Public Health and Safety Department, Law Enforcement Department, Fire Department, and Maintenance and Transportation Department are fully operational.

Meanwhile, 18 other SBMA offices operate with skeletal force while10 others have totally shut down to minimize person-to-person contacts in the Subic Bay area, Eisma said.

The SBMA had also announced on Tuesday the suspension of mass public transport operations; prohibition of mass gatherings like tourism and sports events; restriction of private business operations except for those providing basic necessities and such activities related to food and medicine production; and prohibition of dine-in in restaurants.

However, the SBMA said that business process outsourcing establishments and export-oriented industries shall remain operational, provided that strict social distancing measures are observed and that their respective personnel shall be given appropriate temporary accommodation arrangements by March 18, 2020.

The SBMA also required full operations by vital businesses like public utilities, including power, water and telecommunication; banks, money transfer service and related financial services; groceries, convenience stores, supermarkets, and wet markets; pharmacies and drugstores; hardware stores and construction supplies; and gas stations. (Dante M. Salvana)

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