Quezon, Nueva Ecija report 3 confirmed COVID cases

March 24, 2020

THE provinces of Quezon and Nueva Ecija have reported three confirmed cases of COVID-19 each.

In a statement, Quezon Provincial Health Officer Dr. Grace Santiago said aside from the three COVID patients, the province has 73 patients under investigation (PUIs).

Last Saturday, a “patient under investigation” from Tayabas City died from severe pneumonia pending the result of the laboratory test.

The cause of death of the first casualty from Sariaya, Quezon was also severe pneumonia but there is no way of determining if it was COVID-related as the specimen submitted for laboratory test was rejected.

Lucena City government has set up additional isolation rooms outside the hospitals for the use of city residents who will be affected by the virus.

In a meeting this morning, Mayor Roderick Alcala finalized the details of the scheduled second wave of food distribution to the barangays.

As part of the national government's directive, over 200 individuals have already been accosted and jailed by members of the Lucena City police under Lt. Col. Romulo Albacea for violating enhanced community quarantine.

Albacea was ordered by Quezon police director Col. Audie Madrideo to arrest any person who has no valid reason to stay outside of his residence.

Citing Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said persons violating the measures under the enhanced quarantine could be arrested for resistance and disobedience to a person in authority.

Guevarra added that violators could be charged with “non-cooperation” under Section 9 of Republic Act No. 11332, the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act. 

Meanwhile according to Nueva Ecija Task Force versus COVID-19 spokesman Father Arnold M. Abelardo, the province's third confirmed COVID-19 case was recorded in General Natividad town, with the patient described only as a 19-year-old male.

From the previous two positive COVID-19 cases, Fr. Abelardo announced over live radio broadcast of government-run DWNE Teleradio, the number of PUIs and persons under monitoring (PUMs) rose to 179 and 25,396, respectively.

Abelardo said the PUI, who escaped while undergoing a 14-day quarantine, returned to the Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center yesterday. 

He added that the patient has tested negative for the virus based on the results obtained from the Department of Health.

“Ito po ang magandang balita dahil tested negative po sa COVID-19 ang nasabing pasyente na nagtangkang tumakas mula sa PJG upang umuwi sa pamilya, sa kanyang walong anak," said Abelardo.

These developments came amid an anti-COVID-19 “border-lockdown” being implemented by at least three cities and 18 towns of the province.

No entry or travel is allowed for individuals without the manadatory quarantine pass in cities of Cabanatuan, San Jose and Gapan and the towns of Cuyapo, Zaragosa, Lupao, Guimba, Nampicuan, Sto. Domingo, Bongabon, Gen. Natividad, Carranglan, San Leonardo, Talugtug, Licab, Rizal, Talavera, Aliaga, Jaen, Peñaranda, Cabiao and Laur.

To prevent the spread of the deadly virus, San Jose City Mayor Mario “Kokoy” Salvador, Cabanatuan City Mayor Myca Elizabeth Vergara, and Sta. Rosa Mayor Josefino Angeles also enforced a week-long clustered scheduling of market day in all their barangays with shorter market hours from Monday to Sunday.

With Steve A. Gosuico