Nearly half of BI frontliners at NAIA COVID-19 negative

NEARLY half of some 500 Bureau of Immigration (BI) frontliners at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) tested negative for COVID-19.

BI Medical Section Chief Dr. Marites Ambray reported to the BI Commssioner that they conducted Rapid Antibody-body tests to check frontline personnel, as well as high risk employees of the BI.

"A total of 206 immigration officers underwent the rapid mass testing yesterday at the NAIA Terminal 3 building, and thankfully all tested negative. We likewise were able to test 150 frontline and at risk employees at the BI Main office, as well as seaport operation officers, and so far all have tested negative," the report stated.

BI port operations chief Grifton Medina disclosed that priorities were given to BI personnel performing frontline duties as well as to at risk groups including senior citizens, and those with underlying medical conditions that make them more prone or vulnerable to contracting the virus.

Medina welcomed  the test results, adding that he has requested another batch of testing for the rest of the airport frontliners.  Said testing was initiated by the Bureau's COVID-19 task force, chaired by BI Deputy Commisssioner Aldwin Alegre, following test kit donations to the BI from foreign embassies and concerned agencies.

The task force earlier announced that it had already procured hundreds of personal protective equipment (PPEs) that BI frontliners need to shield themselves from the coronavirus while on duty.

Medina said the development is a positive sign that the health protocols that the bureau has put in place to safeguard the lives of its employees are working to lessen the risks they are facing.

The bureau’s COVID-task force and medical team are on call 24 hours a day so they can promptly respond to health queries and emergencies, Medina said.