CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — An airplane passenger was put under quarantine after registering a higher-than-normal temperature upon arrival at the Laguindingan Airport in the afternoon of Tuesday (March 10), the Department of Health-10 (DOH-10) has confirmed Thursday.
Dr. Adriano Suba-an, DOH-10 regional director, said the passenger, a resident of Metro Manila, has decided to go back to Mindanao to visit his family.
Suba-an said the passenger may have come from the Lanao area, although he did not specify the exact province.
Lanao is divided into two provinces, with Lanao del Norte belonging to the Northern Mindanao region and Lanao del Sur as part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
He said that while the patient was on board an aircraft en route to the Laguindingan Airport, they were already informed by the DOH in Manila of that person’s arrival and that he is a patient under investigation (PUI).
“We deployed our team to make sure that that patient will be brought immediately [to the NMMC] in a proper way of handling a patient,” he added.
According to Job de Jesus, Laguindingan Airport manager said the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) was also informed about the patient’s arrival.
He said Caap communicated with the airplane’s pilot regarding the passenger and it was arranged that he will be the last person to get off the aircraft when it lands.
De Jesus said they made sure that “the arrival area is not crowded when the passenger steps off the plane. We are careful. We have a special procedure for him.”
He said the DOH-10 was able to determine through the thermal scanning that the PUI has a high temperature, which health experts considered as one of the manifestations that a person may have contracted the novel coronavirus prompting medical authorities to subject that person to a 14-day quarantine at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC).
The airport management then turned the passenger over to the DOH-10 medical staff who brought him to the NMMC.
Suba-an said the PUI from Metro Manila is “properly managed” at NMMC.
As of this posting, DOH-10 has yet to announce if that patient has contracted the coronavirus or not.
De Jesus noted that since the outbreak of the coronavirus this February, the number of passenger arrivals and departures at has gone down by at least 11 to 15 percent.
He said the Laguindingan Airport records 6,000 passengers and an average of 58 flights a day.
The threat of the coronavirus, he said, has lessened the airport’s passenger count by 600 to 700, or about three flights per day. (davaotoday.com)