By Noel Cabobos
KALIBO, Aklan—As the presence of 11 Chinese tourists being observed in isolation at the Aklan Training Center hugged the headlines, some residents here especially those living within the vicinity of the government facility are starting to worry about the possible impact to their health and safety if and when one of the tourists is found positive of the new coronavirus.
This was the sentiment aired by the residents living at Brgy. Old Buswang, Kalibo, where the ATC or the Gov. Corazon L. Cabagnot Tourism and Training Center is located.
“How about if one of those will be found out positive of this deadly virus? Ano na lang? Sila pababalikin lang sa China. Ano kami, nganga?,” the residents hinted.
As this developed, Kalibo Mayor Emerson Lachicha issued an executive order today suspending the classes of all schools located near the facility on the ground of promoting public welfare and safety as expressly provided for by the Local Government Code.
“As a precautionary measure to prevent any transmission to students, the faculty, school administration, school personnel, residents and constituents in that part of Kalibo, and to placate the grave concern it has caused to the public,” Lachica underscored.
Ordered suspended are classes from the Regional Science High School for Region VI, Saint Gabriel College–including its pre-school, elementary, junior and senior high school, the Barangay Old-Bachao Sur Elementary School, and the Starglow Center for Academics and Arts.
UNDER OBSERVATION AND CLOSE WATCH
It was learned that the mayor’s executive order is rooted from the numerous complaints among residents of Brgy. Old Buswang after the Department of Health and the provincial government of Aklan decided to place the 11 Chinese tourists at the ATC while being observed from possible infection of the new coronavirus.
Dr. Cornelio Cuachon, Jr., Aklan Provincial Health Officer based at the Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital (DRSTMH), confirmed in an interview yesterday, that the said 11 Chinese, are currently treated as “normal tourists” at the ATC after they were given a green light to go out of DRSTMH since they were not showing flu-like symptoms particular to patients among those infected by the virus.
He even said the Chinese are being closely watched as two police personnel were assigned in the facility 24/7 to make sure they would stay there until the incubation period has lapsed on February 3.
CONTACT IN HONGKONG
Of the 11 tourists, 4 reportedly had in contact with another Chinese national who was found positive of the coronavirus in Hongkong on January 21.
In a following contact tracing made by Hongkong authorities, it was found out that the 4 proceeded to Kalibo on January 22 and eventually in Boracay that same day. The 4 were already staying in the island for 3 days and had in contact with 7 other Chinese nationals in a resort on Boracay.
After the trace, Cuachon said all of the 11 Chinese nationals were advised to have themselves checked at the DRSTMH.
“Fortunately they are okay. They don’t have any fever and are not showing flu-like symptoms,” Cuachon said adding, “so we decided, upon the recommendation of the governor, to just have them under close monitoring at the Aklan Training Center while they are enjoying to be a tourist in our province.”
Photo from Gov.Corazon L. Cabagnot Tourism and Training Center Facebook page