A female stowaway from Bacolod City was extracted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal few minutes before she could leave the country Friday, retired Major General Mel Feliciano, Inter-Agency Task Force Visayas chief implementer, said yesterday.
The stowaway, who is currently placed in a quarantine facility in Manila, is an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) bound for Dammam City, Saudi Arabia. She was supposed to fly at 1 p.m. on the same day she was intercepted and extracted, he said in a press statement.
The Bacolod City Emergency Operations Center Task Force (EOC-TF) found out – upon contact tracing – that the OFW boarded a plane from Bacolod to Manila, after she tested positive for Covid-19 on her fifth swab test conducted on September 29, the result of which she learned on October 1.
Feliciano immediately coordinated with the National Inter-Agency Task Force against Covid-19 to locate her for eventual extraction.
When found by the authorities, the Bacoleña OFW peacefully submitted herself to the extracting officers, Feliciano said.
“She was consistently negative in her four swabs, yet yielded positive in her fifth. It was unfortunate that before her awaited flight going out of the country, she was infected. Let this be an example to educate people that one breach of health protocols can lead to infection,” the EOC TF said.
Meanwhile, EOC deputy for medical, Dr. Chris Sorongon, assured that health protocols were properly observed during the woman’s extraction.
“Information is being gathered to determine other passengers who were exposed to her in her previous flights. Contact tracing is being done, for sure. As for what she violated, our legal minds can help us out with it,” Sorongon added.
Sorongon also suspects that the woman may have had exposure to the virus while she was processing her travel documents before her fifth swab test.
The woman had to undergo five swab tests in view of Saudi Arabia’s Covid-19 health protocols for travelers, the press release said.
“Visitors to Saudi Arabia coming from countries experiencing a Covid-19 outbreak are required to produce a coronavirus-free PCR certificate upon arrival. The certificate has to be issued within 24 hours prior to a passenger’s boarding flight to Riyadh, Jeddah, or Dammam,” City Administrator Em Ang, EOC executive director and deputy for administration and operations, said.*