‘DATA MIX-UP’: Malay corrects number of persons under monitoring in Boracay

By Emme Rose Santiagudo

The municipal government of Malay, Aklan clarified the figures it released regarding the number of Chinese tourists that remained in Boracay Island.

During the Pre-Disaster Risk Assessment meeting of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) 6 on Tuesday, the Malay Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) said that 2,000 tourists remained in the island and are staying in different hotels and establishment.

Malay MDDRMO Catherine Fulgencio said they are monitoring 2,000 tourists in the island, mostly Chinese nationals, amid the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) acute respiratory disease outbreak.

“They are considered as persons under monitoring (PUMs). The tourists arrived on the island through the Kalibo International Airport before the flight cancellations and temporary travel ban imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte,” Fulgencio said.

PUMs are persons with travel history to and from China and with possible exposure to a positive case

The figures were also backed by Dr. Marlyn Convocar, Department of Health Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD)-6 regional director, who said that the 2,000 tourists on the island were part of the 5,400 visitor who entered Aklan since Jan 21, 2020.

But in a press release issued on Wednesday, the local government of Malay clarified the figures saying only 429 tourists are considered PUMs.

“Currently, there are 429 Persons Under Monitoring since they have travel history from China for the past fourteen days,” the press release said.

Malay LGU explained that the reported 2,000 Chinese who were from China, except Wuhan, is actually the number of arrivals reported by the Municipal Tourism Office from Jan 25 to Feb 3, 2020.

“Since most of them already left the country, the Municipality of Malay is left with 429 person to be monitored. The 2,000 Chinese were already outside of their country prior to the imposition of travel ban,” the statement added.

Fulgencio earlier said that they are having a hard time centralizing and monitoring the tourists in the island.

“We are really having a hard time because it is difficult to centralize everything. Even some of the establishments do not know how to handle cases of the novel coronavirus,” she said.

In a press statement issued on Feb 5, DOH-CHD 6 said the region has 10 persons under investigation (PUI).

PUIs are those who have fever and respiratory infection, had history of travel in China and possible exposure to a confirmed n-CoV case.

The 10 PUIs include 6 in Aklan, 2 in Negros Occidental and 2 in Iloilo City.

The provinces of Antique and Capiz also reported PUIs as of Monday.

Dr. Jane Juanico, head of the DOH-6 Infectious Disease Section, previously explained that the number of PUMs and PUIs may change as the decision tool of the national DOH is still fluid.

“Every now and then naga-reclassify sila sang mga number of health events,” she said.

Nevertheless, the health department reiterated that the region remains n-CoV-free.

According to DOH-6, they are closely working with LGUs and concerned government agencies to intensify case detection and surveillance as well as infection prevention and control measures.

“Those who have travelled in countries positive with n-CoV are encouraged to coordinate with their local health officers and have themselves checked should they experience fever and respiratory illnesses,” the health department said.

As of Wednesday, DOH Central Office reported a 60-year-old Chinese national in Cebu City as the third confirmed case of novel coronavirus in the country.

PUIs recorded in the country totaled 133, the DOH added.